Thursday 26 August 2010

No diesel-hybrid for MINI

Wolfgang Kuttler, Mini’s diesel-engine manager, has rejected the idea of launching a diesel hybrid even though BMW engine partner, PSA Peugeot-Citroen is investing heavily in the idea.

He said that the system called PSA Hybrid4 – set to show-up on the Citroen DS4 & Peugeot 508 – is “a very expensive and heavy system”.

He added, “It only brings fuel savings in town, not on the faster, more open roads commonly used in Europe. We’ll never use a system like it at Mini for that reason.”

Kuttler is said that Mini is concentrating on improving fuel economy in its diesel engines, using other techniques.

“I believe that we are currently getting about 50% of the efficiency available in diesel engines,” he said.

“We intend to concentrate on improving ancillary drive, lowering internal friction, increasing injection pressure and optimising turbo response, among other aspects. Variable valve timing is a possibility but it’s low down on the priority list.”

BMW has previously declared that it’s working on a 3-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, but Kuttler said this arrangement will need a 1.5 litre capacity or more — “not only to keep the BMW and Mini performance values but also because it is not efficient to have an engine so short of power that it must be worked hard”.

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