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Chrysler Group Powertrain Strategy Focusing on Fuel Efficiency, FFVs and a New Gasoline V-6 Family

9 August 2006

The Chrysler Group’s powertrain strategy is focused on improving fuel efficiency, offering flexible-fuel vehicles (FFV) and a future powertrain strategy which includes a new V-6 engine program based on the World Engine program, according to Chrysler Group Chief Operating Officer Eric Ridenour.

In remarks made to the 2006 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, Ridenour noted that rising gas prices and global conditions are beginning to affect consumers’s appetite for travel.

I believe “fear” is the operative word right now—consumers fear continued price increases as the world oil markets react to escalating strife between Israel and Lebanon—two countries, by the way, that don’t even produce oil but are very much interrelated in the tension and fears of instability in the Middle East.

This consumer fear that gas prices will continue to skyrocket is an issue that the tourism industry is being forced to address—and one the auto industry must tackle as well.

Gas prices are sending some consumers away from high-profit trucks and large SUVs to cars and compact SUVs. For automakers that have relied on those high-margin products for their bread and butter—like the Chrysler Group did in the past—the shift to smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles is serious business.

—Eric Ridenour

Four of Chrysler’s 10 new vehicles coming out in 2007 will have better than 30 mpg highway mileage, according to Ridenour.

We have “fuel economy teams” that go through each of our vehicles—piece by piece, ounce by ounce, joule by joule and amp by amp. Here’s an example: By optimizing our design, we were able to reduce the fuel pump amperage by about 40 percent. Since fuel pumps run all the time, this results in about 0.1 mpg savings on high-flow applications like flex-fuel and HEMI-equipped vehicles. No tenth-of-a-mile improvement is too small to consider in the battle for fuel efficiency.

Chrysler also intends to increase its use of renewable fuels, such as ethanol. Ten percent of Chrysler Group vehicles produced over the past eight years are flex-fuel capable. In 2007, the company will produce 250,000 E85-capable vehicles, and in 2008, it will double that number to 500,000.

Each Jeep Liberty is fueled with B5 (5% biodiesel) at the factory and the program will continue with the 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD—the company’s first diesel-powered full-size SUV with a new 3.0-liter Mercedes-Benz engine. (Earlier post.)

Ridenour made no specific Chrysler commitments or announcements to further deployment of diesel technology in the US, saying only that:

Going forward, the Chrysler Group continues to look for ways to leverage the diesel expertise of our sister division, Mercedes-Benz, to bring clean-burning diesels with superior fuel economy to our customers.

On the hybrid side, Chrysler plans to introduce a Dodge Durango in 2008 that uses the new two-mode hybrid system developed with GM and BMW. At that point, Chrysler will offer the fewest number (one) of hybrid vehicles of any of the top automakers.

Chrysler developed its 4-cylinder family of World Engines with Mitsubishi Motors and Hyundai. The World Engines are targeted to improve fuel efficiency by five percent compared with the engines they replace. (Earlier post.)

Chrysler Group is currently developing a business case for a new family of V-6 engines based on a single V-6 architecture that would incorporate many of the technology lessons and processes gleaned from the World Engine experience. If approved, this one engine would replace four current Chrysler Group engine families. This engine would be produced in a variety of displacements, built around an all-aluminum, dual-overhead cam, four-valve-per-cylinder design.

With GEMA [Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) plant], we were able to apply economies of scale to component and machine tool purchases to generate big savings that we were then able to invest back into the World Engine—allowing us to add features that improve performance, refinement, durability and affordability. We’re very confident that we would be able to achieve the same flexibility in a V-6 family as we have in our family of four-cylinder World Engines.

...We are a full-line producer of vehicles, and we intend to compete in multiple powertrain technologies. We know that each has its merits. That’s why we believe in a combination of biofuels, diesels, hybrids, fuel cells and advance gasoline technologies. No one technology will win the day.

—Eric Ridenour

August 9, 2006 in Biodiesel, Diesel, Engines, Ethanol, Hybrids, Vehicle Manufacturers | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments


None of our "big three" seem to get it. All this talk is about stuff they are planning to do.

They should have already done it years ago.

Yeah, they should just not do anything at all, right?
Better late than never...

This is exaclty why the big 3 will become the small 3. They do very small changes when they need a complete new game plan. Short term they could

1) Fill every diesel powered vehicle with B100 Biodiesel. I drove a 30 year old mercedes for over a year on B100 with no problem what so ever.

2) Make every gas vehicle a flex fuel vehicle and fill every one of them with E85 from the factory.

Long term they should

1) Build Battery Electric Vehicles. We will all die of old age before fuel cells are usable in a car.

Kyle Dansie

A dollar short and a decade late.

The fact of the matter is the big three always talk about what they are going to do. Why not just do it. Talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words.


Amen Brother!

The point of my earlier post exactly.

I would love to see the details of everything they do to their current lineup to optimize it for efficiency gaining 0.1mpg here and there...most of those items may be applicable to used cars. The savings in insurance on a used vehicle could be put into repairs and "updates" to get used vehicles running more efficiently. I think those "tuner garages" which work on muscle cars and import "ricers" could make a new little cottage industry out of upgrading for fuel efficiency...then lower income people who can't buy a new car and may want to be more environmentally sound (and reduce foreign dependance on oil) can use less gas even though it is almost garanteed they won't save money on such labor intensive aftermarket changes...they may want to simply decrease the amount of petroleum they use and CO2 they put in the air.

"I believe “fear” is the operative word right now."
Where have they been sticking their heads? Since 1999 the price of gasoline has steadily gone up. Are these execs at Chrisler comped for all their gas consumption? It's no fear my dear, it's reality. High prices are here to stay, and the world can't afford to pay for gas to run gas guzling vehicles. How stupid!
If they are proud to save .01 mpg savings on gas consumption, they have way bigger problems than they think. How about looking at your competition and learning from something that works? Afterall, that's the beauty of Commerce and Capitalism.

"I believe “fear” is the operative word right now."
Where have they been sticking their heads? Since 1999 the price of gasoline has steadily gone up. Are these execs at Chrisler comped for all their gas consumption? It's no fear my dear, it's reality. High prices are here to stay, and the world can't afford to pay for gas to run gas guzling vehicles. How stupid!
If they are proud to save .01 mpg savings on gas consumption, they have way bigger problems than they think. How about looking at your competition and learning from something that works? Afterall, that's the beauty of Commerce and Capitalism.

To address Patrick's comment about tuner shops doing mods that improve fuel economy, it's possible, but not cost effective. For example, if you own a 96-00 Honda Civic with a manual transmission, probably the most effective mod would be to get a taller final drive. Unfortunately they cost something like $400 from the dealer. You could try to find a Civic HX transmission and swap that on, or even the 92-95 Civic CX or VX transmission, which have even taller gearing, but again you're looking at $250 or more for a junkyard transmission and possibly another $200 to install it, all to improve your FE from maybe 32mpg to 35mpg or so.

That's a great increase, but it would take forever to recoupe $450 with that small of an increase. That's why it's most cost effective for the manufacturers to be the ones making changes because things like deciding the gear ratios of the transmission don't really cost any more to manufacture, but they sure cost a ton more to change after the car has already been built and shipped out.

Save .1 mpg on a fuel pump, make internals out of aluminum/magnesium, coat reciprocaing parts with molybdenim or some equivalent, use titanium valves/springs/retainers. MANY things can be done to incrementally increase efficiency. I would agree, however, that an attatude change needs to take place.
Part of this has taken the form of more diesel offerings from D-C (Liberty/Grand Cherokee CRD). If they instituted a clean diesel in the US (insourced from Mercedes?), they would be able to offer it for less than a hybrid, and with better mileage than a gas fueled vehicle.
AND, it would help to solve half of the "chicken or the egg" problem with biodiesel supply availability.
Biodiesel which we will need because "We will all die of old age before fuel cells are usable in a car." (Maybe not, but it's still just peeking over the horizon).

Sid: I think that you'd only need to drive a little less than 5,000 miles for you to recoup your $450.00 (assuming a change from 32 to 35 mpg). After that, pure profit baby...

Drivetrain changes are not enough. DM should reduce weight of their vehicles and finally move to FWD, and use RWD to pure performance models, not to family sedans.

Bike Dude, the savings from 32 to 35mpg in 5000 miles would be about $40, not $400. You'd need to cover 50,000 miles to break even. Most folks, especially "po folk" do not do things that could take 3 or 4 years to break even.

5000 @ 32 = $468.75
5000 @ 35 = $428.57

50,000 @ 32 = $4688
50,000 @ 35 = $4286

Sid- that is why I mention that you would not recoup your costs. It does not change the FACT that there are lower income people who would LIKE to do less environmental damage and be energy independant but have to stick with their current car due to income. They could shell out $14,000 for a new Yaris, $15K to $17K for a new Civic or Corolla but they don't have that kind of cash (and quite frankly a used civic or corolla gets the same or better gas mileage than an Aveo, Accent, Fit, Versa, Sentra, Focus, etc). Now if instead of paying more than $400 per month for a new small and fuel efficient car ($0 down, 1.9% interest, full coverage insurance) they could pay $450 for a transmission modification one time (less than $40 a month for one year).

Lets see- Underbody aluminum pan for the rear bumper cover and for the front half of the engine insuring easy access to the oil drain & to let heat escape would cost less than $60 in materials and shouldn't take a competent shop more than 1 hour to fabricate and install on the spot (I know I've done this to my own car). That is worth 1-2 mpg at a sustained highway cruising speed...and can net you an extra 2 mph on the 1/4mile (if you have trap speeds around the upper 90's that is).

Lightweight aluminum rims (hey, most don't mind shelling out cash for nice rims as it is) can cut a good 1/3 of the unsprung weight off each corner and has reduced rotational inertia benefits for braking and acceleration. You may only save 20lbs but the reduced mass has a bigger effect on the power you need to accelerate up to cruising speeds (and for climbing a hill). I can't give you any numbers on that though as I still have stock rims. I could cite dyno numbers/sheets representing the greater efficiency in the drivetrain from a lighter wheel.

In reguard to the idea of changing out the trans. for taller gearing. The simpler solution is to use taller tires. Granted there is limited space on some cars but you do have to replace them anyway.

In reguard to the idea of changing out the trans. for taller gearing. The simpler solution is to use taller tires. Granted there is limited space on some cars but you do have to replace them anyway.

In reguard to the idea of changing out the trans. for taller gearing. The simpler solution is to use taller tires. Granted there is limited space on some cars but you do have to replace them anyway. Taller gearing only helps highway mileage however. Any mods should be done in accordance with the driving habits of the individual.

When the Japanese first began competing in the USA, they would find an example of a product that was selling well. They turned around and made a similar thing, but cheaper and junkier. There was a small but steady niche market for that stuff. As the years went by, they saved a lot of the profits, as they were long term oriented. Later they began to make things that were like the American things but, well, weren’t so cheap and junky. And before we knew it, Japanese products began to be associated with high quality.

Meantime, in the 60’s, the US auto makers had really hit their stride. Their products were good, and they would begin to rust within 5 years. So, you see your neighbor in a shiny new Olds and look at your 5 year old rust bucket (northern climates), and hop on down to the showroom to buy American.

Then came the 1973 Yom Kippur war, where Israel was attacked by Syria and Egypt. Many Arab countries supported the attack and the US supported Israel. So, with 35% of our oil coming from overseas, to punish the US and its western allies, OPEC, Syria and Egypt stopped oil shipments to those countries. Without going into the harm it did to the economy, America woke up to the vulnerability it was in, and decided on a 10 year plan to get us off foreign oil. Suddenly, everyone was talking about conservation! Car pooling, driving smaller cars, and consolidating trips. In 1974, OPEC then turned back on the oil spigot, and over the months and years, the trauma was behind us, and forgotten.

Then, as the years went by, your neighbor’s new Mitsubishi, looked pretty cool and your 2 year old Olds looked pretty much like the one you bought decades ago. And the reliability wasn’t quite as good as some of the Japanese cars.

What happened? Did the unions suck too much out of the companies, with paid health care, guaranteed salary increases, long vacations and promoting a feeling of us vs. the company? Or was it too many high paid execs, middle mgt. not showing enough vision, or Engineers afraid to make bold decisions and squelching ideas from younger highly motivated hires?

I don’t know the answer. Maybe none of the above, maybe all of it. I’m just saying that Detroit HAS TO take a hard look at itself, and figure out what caused Humpty Dumpty to fall. And if ever it was time for bold new ideas, it’s now!

Patrick:
For couple of years I am subscriber of on-line magazine for Australian DIY performance entusiasts autospeed.com . I was stanned how simple improvements to exhaust, intake, or especially simpliest improvements for underbody aerodynamic improve power and economy of stock cars. Car manufacturers should be ashamed not to do it by themselves. BTW, I believe these australians geeks were the first to modify Prius for supercharged and turbocharged operation.

Richard:

I come from the Detroit area with an "big 3" automaker manager in the family, car/gas is paid for as part of compensation. Yes, there are other cars in the family, but most are leased and generally not driven for more than a couple of years.

I am sure that most higher ups have only a foggy idea what a car costs to buy/run/maintain.

There is still plenty room for reducing engine emissions and specific fuel consumption (sfc) of the reciprocating internal combustion engines. Randolph Diesel invented Diesel engine to remove the cause of pre-ignition of Otto cycle gasoline engine such that compression ratio can be greatly increased for much higher fuel efficiency. I have created new overexpanded two-stroke cycle engines with the same piston-cylinder assembly of four-stroke engines without ports on cylinder wall. It is a two-stroke Miller cycle engine without the need of a supercharge and an inter cooler. An overexpanded two-stroke engine without the shortcomings of the traditional two-stroke engines could double the power output to achieve low emissions and sfc. Anyone interested in the overexpanded two-stroke engine can contact me. My email address is paopien@hotmail.com.

There is still plenty room for reducing engine emissions and specific fuel consumption (sfc) of the reciprocating internal combustion engines. Randolph Diesel invented Diesel engine to remove the cause of pre-ignition of Otto cycle gasoline engine such that compression ratio can be greatly increased for much higher fuel efficiency. I have created new overexpanded two-stroke cycle engines with the same piston-cylinder assembly of four-stroke engines without ports on cylinder wall. It is a two-stroke Miller cycle engine without the need of a supercharge and an inter cooler. An overexpanded two-stroke engine without the shortcomings of the traditional two-stroke engines could double the power output to achieve low emissions and sfc. Anyone interested in the overexpanded two-stroke engine can contact me. My email address is paopien@hotmail.com.

There is still plenty room for reducing engine emissions and specific fuel consumption (sfc) of the reciprocating internal combustion engines. Randolph Diesel invented Diesel engine to remove the cause of pre-ignition of Otto cycle gasoline engine such that compression ratio can be greatly increased for much higher fuel efficiency. I have created new overexpanded two-stroke cycle engines with the same piston-cylinder assembly of four-stroke engines without ports on cylinder wall. It is a two-stroke Miller cycle engine without the need of a supercharge and an inter cooler. An overexpanded two-stroke engine without the shortcomings of the traditional two-stroke engines could double the power output to achieve low emissions and sfc. Anyone interested in the overexpanded two-stroke engine can contact me. My email address is paopien@hotmail.com.

There is still plenty room for reducing engine emissions and specific fuel consumption (sfc) of the reciprocating internal combustion engines. Randolph Diesel invented Diesel engine to remove the cause of pre-ignition of Otto cycle gasoline engine such that compression ratio can be greatly increased for much higher fuel efficiency. I have created new overexpanded two-stroke cycle engines with the same piston-cylinder assembly of four-stroke engines without ports on cylinder wall. It is a two-stroke Miller cycle engine without the need of a supercharge and an inter cooler. An overexpanded two-stroke engine without the shortcomings of the traditional two-stroke engines could double the power output to achieve low emissions and sfc. Anyone interested in the overexpanded two-stroke engine can contact me. My email address is paopien@hotmail.com.

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