rmay635703 wrote:Lean burn cars like the original Honda Insight emitted some of the lowest levels of NOx for it's time
And so did diesel engines when they first came out.
And thanks Cwerdna for the info! It's all very true. I had forgotten about how far off from reality the European figures are.
When I drove my diesel car I did keep it as tuned as possible. For an example, for the higher elevation I had the max injection turned back in order to compensate for the thinner air and lower the particulate, CO and HC emissions. And keeping it in good mechanical shape probably is what helped me get 55mpg average. Not bad for a car that had only cost me $600.
Sadly with any ICE there doesn't seem to be any win-win situation. Leaner, more advanced timing and higher compression ratios all equate to better efficiency and lower CO, HC, VOC and particulate emissions, but also more NOx emissions. Gaseous fuels such as propane, methane and gasoline all work better at making a much more homogenous air/fuel mixture whereas diesel creates both rich and lean conditions in the same combustion chamber. But even then there really isn't a fuel that can be completely homogenized in intermittent pulses of air several hundred times per second.
And the better emissions a car gets, the more expensive it is too. Talking about the Mitsubishi Mirage, there were some 2015 models on clearance sale for less than $10,000 in the first part of 2016. But interestingly one of the reasons I opted for the Leaf instead of a brand new Mirage was that according to some TCO calculators a used Leaf was slightly cheaper in the long run than any Mirage, new or used. Sadly, the TCO calculators paint used Prii as costing as much as $2,000 more per year than a used Leaf or a new or used Mirage. At that rate I could have just kept my Chevy Astro, that was costing me $200 per month in fuel to operate for the few months I had it.
But all in all the Leaf just seems to me to be the best answer to everything except long trips. My TCO calculation from Edmunds was around $20,000 for five years for my 2013 Leaf, and at the rate I'm going it's going to be a lot cheaper than that. Back then, that was a lot cheaper than Edmunds TCO calculation of $30,000 for five years for a Prius of the same year. The Leaf doesn't spew out black smoke like my Diesel Golf did. It is also the safest car I've ever owned, much safer than my first car, a 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook, as well as my last car, a 2001 Chevy Astro.
If I could figure out how to be able rely solely on the Leaf I'll sell off my two VW's I still own. I'm not quite at the point where I can afford something more expensive than the Leaf. So that places me at a point where I have to draw a line somewhere. Basically if I sell my Leaf I'd have to get a car that's worth exactly what my Leaf costs, no more. I'm not going to be able to get a Prius for that, unless it's a first generation sedan. Maybe some day the value of my Leaf will rise and I'll be able to sell it and buy a PHEV Prius.
cwerdna wrote:- pollutants/air toxics (EPA didn't even consider CO2 to be a pollutant until a few years ago): this has no direct relationship to how much fuel is burned:
This is why I've contemplated making a steam powered range extender for my Leaf. Some of the steam cars back in the 20's got emissions levels that would meet modern day CARB standards (i.e. Doble Steamer). Although I wouldn't expect to get more than 15mpg (which is what the 6,000lb Doble got).