What will be the dominant powertrain of the future? [Video]

There’s a horserace going on out there among how vehicles will be fueled in the future. Will it be by diesel, gasoline, electric or hydrogen fuel cell?

TFL’s Roman Mica and Andre Smirnov recently looked at diesel engines and wanted to see if diesel is the future or if it isn’t. They came up with a top five list of the reasons why it may or may not be the best way to power vehicles.

2017 Jaguar XE
2017 Jaguar XE Diesel

At the top of the list is fuel efficiency. Diesels are known to be more fuel efficient, but are they cheaper when looking at the other powertrains? For a typical diesel vehicle, Roman and Andre estimated that it costs about 6.6 cents per mile. Compared to the gasoline engine at 13.3 cents per mile, it’s considerably cheaper.

For a plug-in hybrid like the BMW 330e, it costs about 5.6 cents per mile, while a pure electric vehicle like the BMW i3 costs about 3.2 cents per mile. A hydrogen vehicle like the Toyota Mirai costs about 33 cents per mile.

2016 toyota mirai
2016 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle

Another reason diesel may be a good choice is with acceleration. Diesels have a lot of torque, giving a driver fast acceleration. However, at higher speeds a diesel may end up petering out and not have as much spunk like a regular gasoline engine that has a turbo.

Costs could be another issue with diesels with many vehicles costing more money for that type of engine. Although the Jaguar XE costs about $1,500 for the diesel version, Mercedes-Benz equipped the least-expensive trim level of their GL SUV with a diesel.

How is the diesel in terms of reliability and emissions? And what was their final verdict on the powertrain of the future? Find out by watching the complete TFL video above.