Thursday, March 30, 2006

Am I Blue?

Blue is cool.  Blue is hot.  Blue is a word which marketers use with ever increasing frequency to describe the next best have-to-have technology.  Consider Bluetooth--the state of the art in wireless technology, or BluRay--the newest thing in high-definition video.  Now there's Bluetec--the latest, and arguably most important--of the new blue technologies.  Bluetec is the brand name for DaimlerChrysler's next generation diesel technology. 

Experts are divided on current diesel engines.  On the one hand, they get three times as many miles per gallon.  On the other hand, they emit eight times the amount of pollutants.  So for the environment it's a push, with the advantage slightly in favor of standard gasoline engines.  Currently, gas-electric hybrid engineering is the technology of choice for the green-minded consumer.

That's all about to change.  One advantage standard gasoline engines have had over diesel is three decades of ever more stringent government standards which have forced automakers to reduce greenhouse emissions.  Thus diesel technology is playing catch up.  However, the learning curve won't be nearly so long because of all the technological and engineering pioneering on gas engines.

DaimlerChrysler is set to introduce Bluetec to the United States in the Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2007.  Mercedes will begin importing the E 320 with a Bluetec engine, with an SUV to follow (I've heard they're going to call it the GL class). 

Currently Bluetec promises to deliver 30 percent better fuel efficiency and 20 percent fewer greenhouse gasses through a combination of filtering and a catalytic converter which adds ammonia to the nitrous oxide (I don't begin to understand the chemistry) to make the exhaust more enviornmentally inert. 

But I personally like this technology better than hybrid technology because it's more solid state and stands a chance on reducing our dependence on foreign oil.  Hybrids still use GAS.  Until hydrogen powered vehicles are available, a Bluetec will be the next car I buy.  So, I plan to save my money and, unless I lose my job or some other unforseen circumstance, I'll purchase a Bluetec vehicle--either a Cherokee or a Mercedes GL.  So in the meantime, I need to re-cathect* with my T-bird.

*Cathexis:  investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea.

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