We’ve been saying it for years, the future of vehicles is likely not hybrid, it’s TDI – Turbo Direct Injection Diesel. Thunderstar seems to agree, having just developed a three-cylinder, 1200cc, TDI motorcycle. Weighing in at 455 lbs, ready to roll, it produces 90hp and 150 ftlbs of torque in stock trim.
The engine is a VW 3 cylinder diesel (from the VW Polo), recast to fit the motorcycle. Apparantly these things don’t go very fast, the current speed record for diesel motorcycles being 85.46mph. (Diesel KLR650 Sets Speed Record)
The Thunderstar isn’t the first diesel motorcycle. The M1030 M1 Diesel Kawasaki is a military approved motorcycle to meet NATO requirements one battlefield fuel. The military want them because they are rugged, go-anywhere machines that run on the same fuel as their tanks and aircraft, simplifying supplies and reducing costs. They also give twice as many miles to the gallon.
Which still leaves the diesel’s trump card — fuel efficiency. The army’s bike can run 400 miles on one tank. Manufacturers predict diesel bikes will do 140mpg once the technology is refined. That is because a litre of diesel contains more energy than a litre of petrol and because diesel engines convert chemical energy in fuel into mechanical energy more efficiently.