Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel engine in 1892, after seeing the inefficiency of traditional gasoline and steam-powered vehicles. Rather than using spark plugs, diesel engines used hot air compressed to very high pressures. This compression heats the air t over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat vaporizes the diesel fuel, then ignites it. Fuel injectors distribute the vaporized diesel evenly throughout the engine. Any fuel vapors left are vaporized into even smaller droplets until all of the fuel is used. The greater fuel efficiency of diesel minivans comes from the higher compression ratio of diesel fuel to traditional gasoline.
Finding Diesel Minivans
Chrysler Diesel Minivans
Chrysler is working toward releasing diesel minivans in the United States. These would use a 2.2-liter four-cylinder Mercedes engine. One major roadblock to the release of the engine in the United States is that it only passes emission standards in 45 states out of 50. Chrysler is also looking to build diesel-powered hybrid vehicles for the United States.
Diesel vehicles are popular in Europe. Many European countries have higher emissions standards than the United States.The following models are very popular with international consumers:
- Ford Galaxy: The seven-seat Ford Galaxy has a diesel option in Europe, boasting 116 horsepower and getting just under 38 miles per gallon.
- Volkswagen Touran: The diesel version of the Volkswagen Touran seats five and has a horsepower rating of 105 with a fuel efficiency of a little over 43 miles per gallon.
- Opel Zarifa: Opel's Zarifa offers a diesel engine package called ecoFlex. This vehicle gets 110 horsepower and over 41 miles per gallon. The minivan seats seven.
- Kia Carens: The Korean car manufacturer Kia makes the diesel-powered Carens. It seats five with 140 horsepower and gets more than 38 miles per gallon.