For those who are new and are planning importing a car or electrical goods from Japan should know that Japan is right-hand drive like England though there are imported left-hand drive cars mostly from Germany, in recent years the number as dwindled and most of the left hand drive cars are the high end, big engine luxury Cars.The Steering wheel is not what I will be talking about here, I will save that as a topic for the future, for now I will dwell on the situation of diesel engine cars in Japan.
Most people who are versed in cars or have been to Europe know or must have noticed that a high percentage of cars running on European roads are diesel engine cars in stark contrast with Japan and North America ( U.S , Canada and Mexico). The reason for the absence of diesel cars in the U.S and Japan are for different reasons that I won’t dwell on in here.
The reason why very few diesel engine cars could be found on Japanese roads is because tougher emission standards were created due to particulate matter (PM) and NOx (soot) pollution concerns and manufacturers were not allowed to make new cars that did not meet the new emission standards, Car manufacturers did not see the need for investing in diesel as their existence didn’t really depend on it, the public too played a part in this decision because the general public viewed Diesel engine negatively, dirty, noisy , slow and expensive, so naturally when the old diesel cars were being replaced they were replaced by gasoline engine cars and the replaced diesel engine cars found a new home in countries without emission standards in Asia and Africa and it became difficult (like searching for a pin in a haystack ) to find a diesel engine car on Japanese roads as the years went by.
However, advances in diesel engine technology, development of ultra-low Sulphur diesel fuel in recent years has led to the adoption of the once abandoned diesel as an option for cars albeit predominately SUV by Japanese car manufacturers notably Mazda with it’s Skyactiv-d technology, Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi.
The heated competition amongst car manufacturers to produce cars with the best consumption as forced some car manufacturer to attain that goal through introduction of hybrid models while others have turned to the clean diesel engine that entails a cheaper manufacturing cost and engine power than a hybrid but produces comparable if not better fuel efficiency than a hybrid car. As a result diesel engine cars are gradually making a comeback in Japan, though the poor perception users have about diesel engine cars are still there due to ignorance, it is changing as seen from the popularity of some diesel engine SUV like Mazda CX5 and Nissan Xtrail.
Clean diesel is coming back full time in Japan, but what are really the strong attributes of clean diesel, well for a start even before the advent of clean diesel, diesel engines are more fuel efficient, more robust, more powerful, higher torque and the biggest negative was the noise, pollution (smog) and higher manufacturing cost thus higher price due to the need to make the engine bigger and the walls more thicker.
The prime difference between diesel and gasoline engine is the method of fuel combustion, a gasoline engine achieves combustion with the aid of spark plugs whereas a diesel engine ignites fuel through compression of the fuel – air mixture.
As mentioned earlier the development of ultra –low Sulphur diesel greatly reduces Sulphur dioxide a key component in smog and has helped cut PM and NOx emissions, advanced new technologies such as electronic controls, fuel injections, improvement in the combustion chamber setup and turbocharging technology have made diesel engines cleaner, quieter, efficient and powerful .
The stringent emission standards set by governments forced car manufacturers and other auxiliary makers to innovate as evident from the development of various exhaust gas emission control devices such as Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF), Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) and Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) and Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF)
Diesel Engine continues to experience improvement with increasing performance, lower fuel consumption and lower emissions.
So If you are thinking of getting a car, a clean diesel car is worth checking out , though diesel engine cars are more pricey than the gasoline equivalent , the lower gasoil price compared to gasoline in most countries makes a clean diesel car a better option in the long run.
Below is the manufacturers both foreign and doomsday of Clean diesel cars and the car models presently in Japanese Market
E350 BlueTEC (Sedan)
E350 BlueTEC (Wagon)
X5 xDrive35d BluePerformance
523d BluePerformance (Sedan)
523d BluePerformance (Wagon)
ALPINA D5 TURBO