Chryslers hybrids got hemi

В рубриках: Automobile | Автор: admin 24.07.2010

Chrysler’s Hybrids Got Hemi!

The Chrysler Group, DaimlerChrysler AG’s American arm, will power hybrid versions of the 2008 Chrysler Aspen and the Dodge Durango and SUVs with its brawny 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine, the automaker said Monday.

The Aspen and the Durango, the first ever gasoline-electric hybrids from Chrysler, are slated to hit the market in 2008. The hybrids will feature a two-mode hybrid technology that enhances fuel efficiency for both city and highway driving. While the Aspen and the Durango SUVs feature the traditional Hemi engines, the new Hemi hybrid engine is expected to bolster fuel economy 25 percent overall as well as about 40 percent in stop-and-go-traffic.

This will be the first time that Daimler’s American division has revealed detailed plans to blend hybrid technology with its famous Hemi engine. And EBC brakes will not bring it to a halt. Chrysler is doing quite well through its partnerships auto giants like the General Motors Corp. and BMW. The automakers are developing two-mode hybrid systems at the Hybrid Development Center in Troy.

“We know that our customers really like the Hemi for providing them with the utility and capabilities they need in normal driving,” said Andreas Truckenbrodt, the executive director of hybrid programs for DaimlerChrysler. “That means that if we combine (hybrid) with that engine we could really offer substantial fuel economy, but not force the customers into giving up on what they’re used to as far as performance.” He added, “The hybrid technology will add weight to the SUVs, but that shouldn’t compromise the Hemi’s performance, which has wowed consumers.”

The two-mode hybrid combines a pair of electric motors with a gasoline engine and a transmission with high- and low-speed modes. The design will allow the hybrid Aspen and Durango to run on all-electric power, all gasoline power or a combination. The Hemi hybrid engine, on the other hand, will showcase the multi-displacement system offered on the gasoline Hemi engine that generates 340 horsepower. The fuel-saving feature called the MDS stops four of the engine’s eight cylinders under specific driving conditions that require less power.

“The MDS and hybrid are two different technologies, which do not require each other but they complement each other at the end of the day very nicely,” Truckenbrodt said.

Jack Nerad, the executive editorial director and the market analyst at Kelley Blue Book, “The dual-mode hybrid technology that will equip the Durango and Aspen is significantly different and more advanced than single-mode systems available.”

“It really kind of leapfrogs the current hybrid technology out there,” Nerad said. “One of the key advantages is the current hybrid systems provide by far the bulk of their benefits in city driving and don’t really do much for you at all when you’re driving on the highway. This one is a much more sophisticated system that allows better fuel economy in both city and highway driving.”

Among the hot selling hybrids in the market these days include the Toyota Highlander SUV, Toyota Prius car, and the small Ford Hybrid Escape SUV. Hybrid sport utility vehicles could reverberate with enthusiasts who are looking for fuel efficient autos with more space to offer good hauling and towing capacity.

“I don’t know if you can necessarily class these people as environmentalists,” Nerad said, “but certainly I think they would like to help the environment as much as anybody else and at the same time save some money.”

From a volume standpoint, the hybrid segment is growing “pretty substantially,” said Jeff Schuster, the executive director of global forecasting at the J.D. Power and Associates. Last year, roughly 250,000 hybrids were sold in the United States. For 2007, hybrid sales are estimated to jump to roughly 350,000 and around 2013 should account for 5 percent of U.S. auto sales, or more than 1 million vehicles, Schuster noted.

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