5 myths and facts about diesel

1. Diesels cars are sluggish

bosch

No one can be right all the time – not even the inventor of the diesel engine.

This is one of the most common preconceptions and I must admit, I had the same thoughts myself not too long ago. You see, all the vehicles you associate with diesel – commercial trucks, lorries and such typically comes with an image of a loud automobile spewing lots of smoke and getting in your way.

I was enlightened when I saw diesel cars in Australia, Singapore and Europe performing much better than their gasoline counterparts. In fact, during my trip to Germany, I realized that a lot of people actually preferred diesel cars!

mega tower carpark

The torque generated from a modern diesel engine is quite impressive, due to the intrinsic nature of diesel. It accelerates faster than petrol cars – you can feel this when you start from a red light or step on the accelerator to overtake. The power is greater than normal petrol (gasoline) cars, as I found to my delight during a BMW diesel car drive. A diesel engine generates about 50% more torque than a comparable gasoline engine

2. Diesels vehicles are expensive to run

This is not really true, especially when you take in all the factors. It’s especially not true in Malaysia! :)

Diesel: RM 1.80 / liter
RON 95 gasoline: RM 1.90 / liter

The government subsidizes diesel here so it actually costs lower when you compare it to RON 95 gasoline. That’s even truer when you acknowledge the fact that diesel engines are much more efficient than gasoline engines.

A diesel engine requires 30% less fuel than a comparable gasoline engine!

Combined with the savings per litre, this will translate to *truly amazing mileage* when you drive a diesel car – just ask anyone driving one! You’ll get better fuel economy by a more efficient engine.

3. Diesel cars are slow

The winners of the oldest and most well known sports car endurance racing event will beg to differ. Clean Diesel cars (equipped with Bosch diesel injection technology) have been the winners of 24 Hours of Le Mans for several consecutive years. Another diesel car won the 2008 Dakar Rally for the first time. Clean Diesel excels under the high demands of motor sports.

autobahn germany

Most German manufacturers have to voluntarily limit vehicles to 250 km/h though, which makes a lot of sense. You don’t want anyone to get carried away and drive in speeds in excess of that while feeling the powerful torque of a diesel engine.

4. Diesel cars are loud and smelly

This used to be true in old lorries and tug boats, which are a familiar scene in Malaysia. However, that has not been true for a long time. A modern diesel engines actually emit very little smoke. I was surprised to see how little when I drove a diesel BMW 3 series a couple of years ago.

dresden

It produces less smoke than a regular gasoline car!

In fact, the wind noise of the Audi R15 TDI is often louder than the diesel engine so it’s almost impossible to hear the change of gear by ear, like they used to.

The new environmental standards of Euro 4 and higher diesel has some surprising figures – a two-liter diesel engine would have to idle for 100 minutes before it generates as much fine particulates as one cigarette!

5. Diesel damages the environment

The new Euro 4 and even higher rated Euro 5 standards in diesel make this statement totally untrue. Of course, combustion engines of both the gasoline and diesel variety isn’t exactly compatible with the environment.

Bosch Clean Diesels emit about 25% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than a comparable gasoline engine.

Compared with a typical diesel engine from the 1990’s – Clean Diesel’s emissions are more than 96% lower! It can meet the most stringent emission legislation worldwide, including in European countries like Germany!

clean diesel

Bosch Clean Diesel has a really good chart that shows the total carbon footprint for a diesel car is actually on the same carbon footprint level as an electric vehicle. This is coz there’s a lot of factors to consider when calculating carbon footprint e.g. the production of electricity.

ecological footprint

A lot of people have understandable misconceptions about the diesel engine due to the lorries and trucks still operating from 20 years ago. However, a lot has changed since then. Malaysia is planning to switch to Euro 4 diesel (it is currently Euro 2) and with the free trade agreement kicking into place in 2015, it would be to Malaysia’s best interest to do it before then.

Singapore will have Euro 5 by then and Thailand will have already adopted Euro 4 and with Malaysia sandwiched in the middle, changing to the more environmentally friendly Euro 4 for compliance by then would seem very likely.

dresden serene

Interesting fact: More than 50% of new cars sold in Europe are diesel cars!

berlin germany

For the end consumer, like you and me, getting a diesel vehicle is actually a pretty good choice due to the advantages it has over the gasoline engine. With electric vehicles realistically several decades away for all the infrastructure to make it possible to operate, the diesel engine is a pretty good bet. Find out more and get fun & interesting facts about Clean Diesel at the Bosch Malaysia Facebook page!

What is Project C? The Kia Cerato Malaysian launch!

cilantro

There was a lot of videos a while back where people guessed at what Project C is. I was thinking coffee or cilantro (the herb known as coriander). It’s quite an interesting shrub as all parts of the plant is edible. That’s innovation in nature!

project c

Interesting fact: 61,000 people visited the “What is Project C” website! 1 person won and walked away with a brand new Kia Cerato.

cerato launch malaysia

The Kia Cerato was just recently launched in Malaysia. It also shares some of the features – everything is innovative (was surprised at some of the nifty features of the car myself) except you can’t eat it. That’s what Project C is about. It’s the launch of the latest and greatest new car from Naza Kia Malaysia! A new benchmark for a sedan in Malaysia.

The Cerato was unveiled to the public with two variants – a 1.6 and 2.0 model (the latter comes with a sunroof and a 4.2-inch full-color TFT-LCD, amongst other features). Motor-driven power steering comes as standard with three settings – Comfort, Normal and Sport with audio and hands-free functionality.

kia cerato

On the aesthetics side, the Kia Cerato looks really awesome – there’s a “Tiger Nose” radiator grill that makes the front looks very aggressive. The projection-type lenses and LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) makes for optimal visibility and also adds to the “cool factor”. The Smart Welcoming Light feature senses when you’re near the car (from the Smart Key) and automatically lights it up with puddle lamps and pocket lights on the door handle!

There’s also Push Start ignition, Bluetooth connectivity, a 4.3” touch screen TFT-LCD with rear camera display and a smooth 10-way power driver seat with memory functionality so you can adjust the seat to exactly the comfort settings that you want! :)

kia cerato features

Dual-zone auto air-conditioning with built in cluster ionizer, rear air vent, glove box cooling (so you can keep drinks and chocolate bars cool inside), front and rear parking assist system and an auto-defog capability that is automatically initiated when sensors detect misty conditions rounds up the standard package. That’s an awesome default package!

On the engineering side, the Kia Gamma 1.6 MPI D-CVVT engine produces 130 PS and 157 Nm of torque while the Kia 2.0 NuD-CVVT engine produces 161 PS and 194 Nm of torque, all mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with a sporty A/T knob. The fuel consumption of the Cerato on a combined cycle is just 14.7 km per liter with an environmentally friendly CO2 emission of 160g per kilometer!

I’ll show you two of the features that impressed me the most: A highly feature-packed sedan!

Air-ventilated driver’s seat

air con seats

Yup, I’m not kidding! The driver’s seat is actually ventilated so you won’t have your shirt sticking to your back on hot, sunny days. I find this a nice, innovative touch. It’s all about the little things that adds to comfort. Air-conditioned seats!

I figured the driver ought to have this since he/she is doing the hard work. ;)

Smart Welcoming Light

puddle lights

The Puddle Lamp is part of the Smart Welcoming Light feature. It automatically detects when you’re near the car via the Smart Key and activates the light. It’s not only a security feature but a practical one as well. Having the floor near your car well light and the door handle illuminated makes for a feature that’s not just innovative, but cool!

The Cerato has five-star ratings in safety for NHTSA safety tests in the United States and it was chosen as the Top Safety Picks of 2013 by IIHS.

kia cerato launch

This is truly an innovative car. The Kia Cerato 1.6 is priced (OTR) at RM 99,888 while the Cerato 2.0 goes for RM 118,888. That’s not only auspiciously priced, but very reasonable considering the features that it has. It also comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty!

This is innovation!

The first headphones-only event in Malaysia

french house kl

I was at Maison Francaise a couple of days ago for a launch. The restaurant, literally translated, means “French House”. It’s located on Embassy Row and serves pretty decent Black Angus Carpaccio – thin slices of marbled beef topped with slivers of cheese and finely diced tomatoes.

black angus carpaccio

Oh, and they had really good organic pumpkin juice too but that was not the reason I was there.

headphones

The MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST Media Launch in Malaysia was the first to incorporate the use of headphones for the entire event. I was quite puzzled when I walked into the dark room and was handed a pair of noise-cancelling headsets with blinking LEDs.

headphones only

I was given a short primer on how to turn it on and adjust the volume and set down for the presentation.

michelin primacy media launch

The headphones are meant to illustrate the “ST” bit of MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST – the Silence Tuned part. These new types has a unique tread pattern that makes it run much more silently than all its competitors and the headphones used for the entire duration of the launch is a great idea to showcase this.

headphones wearing crowd

It was such a great idea that when I recorded a video of the interviews done with limo drivers who had gotten an advance set of these tyres, I didn’t realize that I could hear it coz I was on headphones but the rest of the room is silent.

I present to you this video I took. Haha! Apart from the occasional coughs and clearing of throats, the entire room was silent – coz everyone was on headphones. I was on them too and though it was recording as usual, not realizing that there isn’t any sound from the room at all. No worries though, it has subtitles coz the people were speaking dialects like Hokkien. ;)

headphones only event

The MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST tyres have several advanced features that provides you with silence, comfort and safety:

EvenPeak Technology
Gives you a ride 8% quieter than average of competitors with a greater variation in the size and position of the tread blocks, the noise power is spread across a wider frequency range, making no peaks of noise power.

CushionGuard Technology
Keeps the ride smooth, steady and comfortable. Cushion vibrations when the tread blocks contact the road surface using supple FlexMax compounds and absorbs bumps in the road using shock absorbent sidewalls.

michelin media launch

FlexMax Technology
With FlexMax technology, the tread adapts to the irregularities of the road surface for better connection and grip. FlexMax chamfer prevents the tread block from distorting and losing contact pressure under the centre of tread blocks, ensuring maximum rubber contact with the road when needed most.

StabiliGrip Technology
StabiliGrip technology uses self-locking bands inside the small grooves to minimise tread block deformation, improving handling and cut through water in the wet.

michelin primacy3 launch

MICHELIN Total Performance
At MICHELIN, we don’t just improve tyre performance one aspect at a time, but deliver all performance factors together. This means that you’ll experience the silence, comfort and safety of MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST tyres, whilst also enjoying 25% better longevity.

Yup, all the new performance enhancements comes with no degradation of longevity – in fact, it provides 25% longer lasting tyres when compared to the previous iterations. These are not tests done somewhere in Europe, which can cast doubts on their functionality here, but actually done on drives inside Malaysia!

michelin primacy 3 st

The Stabiligrip and FlexMax technology combines to achieve a 1.6 meter shorter braking distance in wet conditions compared to its predecessor and a staggering 2.9 meters compared to the average of leading competitors!

As drivers, I’m sure you all can fully understand the significance of even a single meter – it is a very practical and useful feature which you might thank the heavens for someday.

michelin primacy 3

On to less morbid topics, the new MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST is available in 16” to 19” sizes in Malaysia and distributed at all TYREPLUS and Michelin authorized dealers nationwide. It’s priced from RM 480 onwards.

maison francaise

Surf on over to the MICHELIN Primacy 3 ST site for more videos on how their technology works or Like the MICHELIN Facebook page and see photos from the unique launch event! :)

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