Volkswagen unveils a rugged Golf Alltrack TDI

The new VW Golf SportWagen (which is replacing the Jetta SportWagen) was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in the souped-up Alltrack edition.

photo credit: autoblog

photo credit: autoblog

photo credit: autoblog

photo credit: autoblog

It’s not only the angular, more masculine lines that differentiate the Alltrack from its less adventure-oriented SportWagen sibling. According to AutoBlog, the suspension is bumped up, it has the latest 4Motion all-wheel drive system, improved traction, and individual wheel braking for better handling. Plus, like the SportWagen, the Alltrack has a TDI turbocharged diesel engine option.

photo credit: autoblog

photo credit: autoblog

However, there’s no word on if we’ll see this bumpy-road-ready Alltrack version in the States. We’ll have to settle for the regular 2015 Golf SportWagen TDI—I can handle that!

See more photos and get the full rundown from Autoblog.

More diesels, please! Chrysler ramps up Ram 1500 EcoDiesel production

As we mentioned a few months ago, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel was named Motor Trend’s “Truck of the Year” thanks to its super efficiency and overall stellar performance. And people loved it.

2014-ram-1500-ecodiesel-winner

Photo credit: Motor Trend

As the only half-ton pickup on the market sporting a diesel engine, the EcoDiesel is going like hotcakes—and Chrysler plans to feed the demand.  According to AutomotiveMag, within the first three days of availability, there were more than 8,000 orders. In light of this fantastic response, Chrysler plans to up production, increasing the EcoDiesel up to 20% of the overall Ram 1500 fleet.

2014-ram-1500-ecodiesel-side-view

Photo credit: Motor Trend

And let’s not forget, the EcoDiesel engine is the same 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 found in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which produces 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque—and is rated for Biodiesel B20.

Read more on the EcoDiesel from Motor Trend.

Propel mobile app—now available for iPhone & Android

Propel-Mobile-App_portrait

mobile-dl_01 mobile-dl_02 Use the app to find Propel Flex Fuel E85 & Biodiesel locations and daily pricing. Access these features for Apple and Android phones today.

  • Price Check: Find today’s prices and save
  • Locator Map: Discover locations & driving directions
  • Vehicle Check: Search vehicle compatibility
  • Fuel Specs: See the benefits of performance fuels
  • Language: English & Spanish
  • Contact: Get your questions answered

Learn more at www.propelfuels.com/mobile_app.

Diesel hybrid from VW finally on the market (in Europe)

Back in 2011 we posted about this space-agey diesel-electric hybrid concept from Volkswagen dubbed the XL 1. At the time, the XL1 was just a prototype and not strictly “street legal.” However, as reported by Inside Climate News, the auto manufacturer has followed through on its promise to produce a small run of the hyper-efficient two-seaters, and Volkswagen is now selling a limited run of 250 models in Europe.

Volkswagenxl1

Most impressively, the car is still reported to get 260 miles per gallon. According to Inside Climate News:

The XL 1’s fuel economy comes partly from its hybrid engine, and partly from its light and aerodynamic design. The car weighs 1,800 pounds, less than half the typical U.S. car. Its tires were slimmed down and its engine was shrunk and turbocharged to get more power. Even the body paint is extra thin. Like most hybrids, the XL 1 is particularly fuel efficient in stop-and-go or city driving, while its diesel engine excels on highways.

There are some performance tradeoffs to achieve this efficiency—the XL1 doesn’t go faster than 99 mph and is slow to reach highway speeds. (Though lead-foot driving isn’t good for fuel economy or safety. )

The XL1 has a hefty price tag of $150,000, even when compared to Tesla’s Model S, which runs upwards of $100,000. Regardless of cost, we won’t see the VW XL1 for sale in the US anytime soon. Guess we’ll have to stick with the regular ol’ Volkswagen TDIs, but with their great fuel economy and more affordable price, we’re not complaining!

Read more about the XL1 limited release.

Audi RS5 TDI Concept

It’s an exciting time for diesel vehicle enthusiasts—Audi is celebrating 25 years of the TDI engine! And how does a car company celebrate a milestone like this? By unveiling an awesome new concept car, of course.

rs5-tdi-2-1

Audi RS5 TDI photo credit: autoblog.com

According to Autoblog, Audi is set to unleash the RS5 triple-turbo-charged diesel concept at the Leipzig Auto Show this month. And by “triple-turbo-charged,” I mean to say that the 3.0-liter V6 is a twin-turbo diesel engine with an electric supercharge tacked on just for kicks. Super fast kicks. The RS5 ramps up from 0 – 6o mpg in about four seconds flat.

And what’s better than going super fast, super quick? Super efficiency! Thanks to the diesel engine, the RS5 uses only five liters (~1.3 gallons) in 100 km, which translates to about 47 miles per gallon.

While this is only a concept car, Audi does have several other diesel options the available today, including the A6, A7, A8L, Q5, and Q7 TDIs, plus other models from previous years.

Fuel innovation: Ethanol from CO gas

So, where’s your fuel coming from next? Out of thin air. Scientists around the country continue to innovate new fuels that reduce dependence on petroleum and improve air quality. And this development caught our attention.

Ethanol from Carbon Monoxide Gas
No corn, sugarcane or switchgrass needed. Stanford University scientists have developed a method to produce ethanol out of carbon monoxide gas.

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As quoted in a recent Ethanol Producer magazine article, Matthew Kanan, an assistant professor of chemistry at Stanford and coauthor of the ethanol study says, “we have discovered the first metal catalyst that can produce appreciable amounts of ethanol from carbon monoxide at room temperature and pressure – a notoriously difficult electrochemical reaction.”

Unlike current ethanol production, this method does not require fermentation of biomass, typically corn, sugarcane or other starchy crops. The technique is similar to a process that reduces water into hydrogen—but in this case, reducing carbon monoxide into liquid ethanol.

While petroleum will only get more difficult to find and more costly to produce in the future, alternative fuel sources will increase, improving upon existing renewable fuel methods and inventing new and diverse sources.

Read more about the Stanford study.

Trident Inceni: A speedy sporty diesel

The word “diesel” usually brings to mind a big, loud, rumbly truck and probably not a very fast truck. The Trident Inceni turns this idea on its head. This sports car is smokin’—and no I don’t mean the exhaust. There’s no hint of clunky, puttering truck in this vehicle. trident-iceni Here’s the low down from Auto Blog:

Billed as “the world’s fastest and most fuel efficient diesel sports car,” the Trident Inceni is styled in the grandest of British tradition. But it’s what’s under that classical sheetmetal that makes it stand out. Where you’d expect to find a gasoline-burning engine, the Trident Inceni packs a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 good for an entirely respectable 395 horsepower and a time-bending 700 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission (there aren’t a lot of gearboxes out there, after all, that could handle that much twist), the Inceni is said to be good for a 3.7-second 0-60 time and a top speed in excess of 190 miles per hour. All that with a range of 2,000 miles and the ability to run on mineral or bio-diesel.

Did you catch that last part there? The ability to run on BIODIESEL. Now that’s my kind of sports car. trident-iceni-09-1 Maybe you don’t have a cool $160k to drop on the biodiesel car of your dreams. Luckily, there are a few more accessible options on the market. For example, check out our post on the VW Golf Sportwagen.