Is better fuel efficiency in our future?
From Edmunds inside line..
Chrysler Group To Rev Up Push Into Hybrid and Clean-Diesel Technology
Date posted: 06-21-2007
CHELSEA, Michigan — The Chrysler Group, which has been lagging behind competitors in the race for the most fuel-efficient vehicles, on Thursday laid out an ambitious program targeted at getting more diesels and hybrids to market in a hurry.
While vague on some details, the automaker indicated that 2009 will be a critical model year, with the rollout of a Jeep Grand Cherokee Bluetec with a clean-diesel engine and the debut of a "significantly upgraded version of the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, resulting in notable gains in fuel efficiency."
The vague parts of the announcement included the assertion that "within the next few years, Chrysler will offer a mild-hybrid powertrain in a Chrysler Group vehicle." The company also said its two-mode hybrid program will expand beyond the Chrysler Aspen Hybrid and Dodge Durango Hybrid, both of which debut next year. But specifics weren't given on which vehicles will get the two-mode hybrid.
The new Phoenix family of V6 engines will get a multi-displacement system. The engine will operate on three cylinders when less power is needed and in V6 mode when more power is required. The automaker said the system will result in a fuel economy gain of 6-8 percent. A new 4.7-liter V8 will get a 5 percent fuel economy improvement with up to 75 more horses and 35 more pound-feet of torque.
Chrysler Group said it will take the new common-axle technology now featured in the Chrysler 300C SRT-8 and move it to other Chrysler Group vehicles, for gains in fuel economy.
The announcement was significant in that it gave outsiders a penetrating look into Chrysler's future product plans, a tactic that is usually scrupulously avoided by automakers. The Detroit automaker said it is "exploring additional penetration of its 3.0-liter V6 common-rail diesel engine — currently in the 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee — and the possibility of a four-cylinder diesel engine for the North American market."
"We have developed and are implementing a series of major initiatives — including a bigger push in hybrid and clean-diesel technology — to meet the needs of American consumers," said Frank Klegon, Chrysler Group's executive vice president of product development.
What this means to you: Fuel economy is the mantra at Chrysler headquarters these days, which should make you happier at the pump in the coming years.