I spent last weekend (not this one that just passed but the other one) in Las Vegas with my buddies from Bosch. We were in the city of sin to set up Bosch’s Learning Center for the Alternative Fuels & Vehicles National Conference that was being held there. It’s kind of hard to think of diesel as an “alternative” fuel since it’s been around for such a long time, but it’s lumped into the same category as all of the future fuels that are making headlines these days. I’m going to list these different fuels in an upcoming blog and go over what makes them real – or just plain wishful thinking – but right now I just want to share a little about the event we were getting ready for on Monday, May 12.
Basically, Gale traveled to Vegas to kick off a Ride & Drive event featuring a small fleet of diesel-powered vehicles that Bosch uses to demonstrate just how cool diesel really is. These aren’t special promotional vehicles that were cooked up in a lab and are assigned their own 24/7 support crew; instead, they are real vehicles (unfortunately available primarily in Europe) that can be bought today…right now! As with the “future fuels” mentioned above, I’ll talk about each of these cars in future blogs, but right now I will tell you that my favorite car there was the BMW 123d! This little sucker had a six-speed manual and the M-package ran hard, and had fantastic handling! It also had a start/stop mode that saved fuel even more…returning 40+ mpg. It’s all the sports car fun you can stuff in an environmentally friendly package and never feel guilty about it. I’ll take hugging this little bugger over a tree any day! (See a comparison between a 123d diesel and the 120i gasoline version.)
Anyways, getting back to the subject: Just as Gale was to kick off the event in came a freak windstorm along with dark, ominous clouds. I wondered to myself if this was some sort of sign as the winds whipped, picking up part of the stage and the tables that were set up close by. The unexpected weather didn’t ward off the anxious folks waiting to get behind the wheel of these modern diesel marvels. At the conclusion of the Ride & Drive, Gale gave a presentation (put together by yours truly) about “clean” diesel performance from our World’s Fastest Sidewinder Dakota to our blindingly fast S-10 drag truck. Lots of folks who were there to see the latest electric-powered people mover were shocked to see the display of such power (I had video, too!) and moreover learn about the fuel economy and total lack of black smoke that’s expected to emanate from the exhaust pipes of a diesel.
So did we make any converts? Dunno, but the folks who took the Bosch vehicles out for a jaunt were left wanting more time in each and ultimately said that they would gladly live with any of them. The statement we made was this: Diesel is here, and it’s clean, powerful, and fully capable of meeting the end-users’ needs…and it is available today! When looking for a solution to our high fuel price dilemma, diesel is the answer. I guess you could say that in a town built on gambling we demonstrated that diesel was a surefire bet.