The objective of this research work was to assess the potential of an electrostatic fluid atomization method for application in direct injection systems for combustion engines. The most important finding of this study was that it is possible to detect the influence of electrostatic atomization at injection pressures up to 300 bar using diesel fuel. The electrostatic force affects the liquid core of the fuel spray from typical diesel nozzles in such a way that additional surface waves are produced which in turn cause the spray to breakup earlier, i.e. the spray breakup length is reduced significantly. This early breakup leads to smaller mean droplet diameters, larger spray angles and as a result air entrainment of the fuel spray is enhanced. Theoretical models were derived to explain the effects of electrostatic charge on fluid atomization.