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Chrysler Introduces First Hybrids: 2009 Chrysler Aspen HEMI Hybrid and Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid

16 November 2007

Cla8819__mid
The Chrysler hybrid SUVs being introduced at the LA Auto Show.

Chrysler has introduced its first two hybrids on the market—the 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid full-size SUVs—both based on the two-mode advanced hybrid system developed with General Motors and BMW.

Capable of towing 6,000 lbs., the new 5.7-liter HEMI Hybrids develop 385 hp (287 kW) and are expected to deliver an overall fuel economy improvement of more than 25%, including an improvement of nearly 40% in the city. By comparison, the gasoline-only 2008 Aspen with 5.7-liter engine has an EPA fuel economy rating of 13 mpg city, 19 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined.

The HEMI engine applied in the hybrid will continue to feature Chrysler’s MDS, which allows the engine to seamlessly alternate between four-cylinder mode when less power is needed and V-8 mode when more power is in demand. The two-mode hybrid system provides assistance from electric motors allowing the HEMI V-8 to remain in four-cylinder mode more often than without a hybrid powertrain, improving overall fuel economy.

Built at the Newark Assembly Plant in Delaware, the new 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid vehicles arrive in showrooms in mid-2008.

The two-mode two-mode full hybrid system offers low- and high-speed electric continuously variable transmission (ECVT) modes (“two-mode”) and four fixed-gear ratios for high efficiency and power-handling capabilities. During the two ECVT modes, the system can use the electric motors for acceleration, improving fuel economy, or for regenerative braking to utilize energy that would normally be lost during braking or deceleration. The energy is stored in the batteries for later use.

The system’s two ECVT modes are optimized for city and highway driving. In the first mode—at low speed and with light loads—the vehicle can operate in three ways:

  • Electric power only

  • Engine power only

  • Any combination of engine and electric power

The second mode is used primarily at highway speeds. In addition to electric assist, the second mode provides full power from the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 when conditions demand it, such as when passing, pulling a trailer or climbing a steep grade.

A sophisticated controller determines when the vehicle should operate in the first or second mode. Input from the controller determines the necessary torque for the driving conditions and sends a corresponding command to the engine and electric motors. The engine and electric motors transfer torque to a series of gears in the transmission, which multiply torque similar to a conventional automatic transmission to propel the vehicle. Unlike conventional continuously variable transmissions, however, the two-mode full hybrid’s electrically controlled system uses no mechanical belts or bands. Shifts between the two modes are synchronous—meaning no engine speed changes are necessary for the mode shift to occur—resulting in seamless accelerations.

The 300-volt NiMH battery pack provides electric power for the system, and is designed to fit in the vehicle without compromising passenger space. A rectifier located under the vehicle’s hood converts AC to DC, to power conventional 12-volt accessories, such as interior lighting, climate control and the audio system.

November 16, 2007 in Hybrids | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack (0)

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Okay. Same 2 mode as the GM models. Not surprising considering the partnership. 40% improvement where the the vehicle will spend the majority of it's life: nice. The Chrysler models use a slightly smaller engine.

No mention of price difference between the 2 models. Now, I, personally, will not buy one because I dislike full size SUV's. I like the technology, but for hauling, I'd rather have a truck. For passenger carrying, a minivan or a sedan. These vehicles are almsot never driven with thier full potential and are therefore wasteful. That is more a result of the driver than the vehicle design.

Still, this shows a major improvement in a vehicle class that is classically resistant to fuel economy improvements. 25% - 40% is big for these vehicles. And it's my opinion that if you can get it to work in these types of vehicles, then you can get it to work in almost anything, assuming that the system will fit.

So that's great, Chrysler has increased the fuel economy on a gas guzzler from 13 to perhaps 18.2 mpg in the city. Whoopee.

These vehicles are rarely used for hauling or pulling trailers, but in most cases as single passenger sometimes family vehicles for around the city. Now though, with the 'Hybrid' name on them, you will get nimrods who think they are helping to slow global warming, conserving energy.

Seeing this though, it's no wonder that GM has posted the highest quarterly losses in history. Get with the program car companies, stop making these beasts.

So that's great, Chrysler has increased the fuel economy on a gas guzzler from 13 to perhaps 18.2 mpg in the city. Whoopee.

That makes it better than a Honda Odyssey minivan, which only gets 17mpg in the city (Edmunds doesn't have EPA numbers for the Sienna or Town & Country, but I imagine they're comparable). Will all the people who screech that people should abandon SUVs in favor of minivans reverse themselves?

Eh, probably not - irrational hate is much more emotionally satisfying.

Seeing this though, it's no wonder that GM has posted the highest quarterly losses in history. Get with the program car companies, stop making these beasts.

Can you explain how stopping the production of highly profitable SUVs will reverse losses generated by accounting rules?

Wow, the discussion here is asymptotically approaching slashdot or dailykos, not entirely a good thing.

But back on point...

The problem the US car companies face is simply that they can't go from their current, heavy reliance on trucks to keep them afloat to building the kind of vehicles I and many people would prefer. They have to ride the wave--make the big trucks more efficient, make better and more efficient cars, and try to hang on to customers as the rising cost of gasoline pushes them to shift from pickups and SUV's to smaller and much more fuel efficient vehicles, all the while remaining profitable.

The US car companies have really painted themselves into a corner (by pushing trucks so relentlessly for years), and now that we're beyond the age of cheap oil this is likely the only way they have out of the predicament. Whether it will work depends on how quickly the price of gasoline continues to rise. If the more hard core peak oil guys are right and we've already peaked (I think we're a few years away, just for the record), then the US car companies could be in for some very tough times as the customers shift much quicker than their product lines.

Whatever happens, it won't be dull.

One comment to Matthew, if full sized SUVs are so profitable, why is it that Toyota, a primarily fuel efficient car(not truck) selling company made almost 4 billion in profit last quarter. Also Honda, one of the most fuel efficient car companies in the world also had a 1.6 billion profit.

69 billion are the posted losses of GM... 69 billion, yet they insist on beating a dead horse hoping the full-sized SUV will bring them back into the limelight. Perhaps if in the future they put this type of technology into vehicles the average person drives such as the Town & Country or the Uplander, or mid-sized passenger cars they would start making a profit

@Lou Grinzo,

You hit the nail right on the head. The US auto companies relied on light trucks to make money during a decade (1990s) of $15 oil. Why compete on cars when you're already way behind? Now they're paying for it, and have to apply hybrid technology to save their base market.

Toyota leads in hybrid cars, but so far looks to be behind on light trucks. My understanding is that the current HSG system won't work for heavy vehicles, towing, etc. A hybrid Tacoma would be a huge hit; when do you think they'll make one?

Oorgo:

The answer to that is legacy costs. Take a look at the recent contract negotiations between the Big 3 and the UAW. Huge focus on healthcare costs. GM alone has several hundred thousand retired employees on its pension.

Toyota, Honda, and other import automakers do not have these issues. This makes making small cars an unprofitable venture.

It's a combination of factors that make for a very bad situation for the domestics.

@Oorgo,

"why is it that Toyota, a primarily fuel efficient car(not truck) selling company made almost 4 billion in profit last quarter"

Toyota makes most of its money selling Tacoma's, 4Runners and Sequoias, as well as luxury cars (Lexus). The Prius is great (I bought one), but hardly representative of their product line. Yes, they are more efficient at making cars, but they're right there with the Big Three in opposing higher CAFE standards. The reason is big profits in SUVs and light trucks.

Aw, look...some nitwit has been reduced to posting with my name and email address. I bet I can guess his name...

Anyway...

if full sized SUVs are so profitable, why is it that Toyota, a primarily fuel efficient car(not truck) selling company made almost 4 billion in profit last quarter. Also Honda, one of the most fuel efficient car companies in the world also had a 1.6 billion profit.

Because they make better cars. It has nothing to do with the trucks...look at the margins on the big SUVs that GM makes, and consider what would happen to their bottom line if they stopped making them.

Perhaps if in the future they put this type of technology into vehicles the average person drives such as the Town & Country or the Uplander, or mid-sized passenger cars they would start making a profit.

Fortunately, it's coming. But again, their real problem isn't that they don't make hybrid cars, it's that they don't make *good* cars. GM is starting a turnaround with the new models such as the Aura, Malibu, and CTS that are just now coming out...if these are as good as they seem to be, then GM will start making a profit again.

But in the meantime, they need those big profitable SUVs to keep them afloat. And if you don't think they're profitable, how do you explain Toyota introducing an all-new giant Sequoia SUV just this week?

The U.S. car companies will get it together. I counted them dead and gone back in the early 80's and they came roaring back.

I have owned a problematic honda and toyota and my last 2 jeeps have been without flaw (drove one for 8 yrs).

The U.S. companies have always built what americans want, which was never high milage, small cars. That is now changing and the auto companies are changing.

These things go through so much fuel when driven typical mileages that these sorts of gains can provide a much quicker break-even point -- assuming the hybrid premium is not also equally inflated.

Are these sorts of trucks necessary? Almost certainly not. In England (where I am living at the moment -- I will eventually return to Boston), even builders and contractors tend to live with these absurd little boxy Renault 4-cyl things to haul their tools and bits of lumber around. By contrast, in Boston I saw plenty of contractors driving F150s around -- most often to commute to their worksites, carrying nothing more than hand-held toolboxs (or were they lunchboxes?), where they'd be parked for the day.

Need to tow a boat? I mean, really need to? Fine -- get a diesel. I have little use for diesel cars, but for towing stuff we've long accepted diesel even in California.

But we have these sorts of gasoline driven monsters in North America -- in good numbers, too -- and as long as we're stuck with them (i.e. as long as gas is below $7/gal -- like it is in blighted old England), they might as well pollute less. Again, assuming the hybrid premium here isn't absurd, the economic case going hybrid (assuming you're going to buy into this segment one way or another) is probably better here than in the Prius.

Wow. The Chrysler products make the GM ones look good. Wow. I was hoping for a V6 hybrid pickup. Who will be first with a hybrid mini van or pickup truck?

The people who NEED a truck and drive 50 even 100k miles a year hauling everything from show ponies and show dogs to trained bears and mimes to 50000 red marbkea and strawberry flavored underwear are the reason they design and build these trucks...

Yje sillies who dont need em but get em anyway simoky oay for more bells and wostles and of course more workers and plants..

Wintermane wrote: The people who NEED a truck and drive 50 even 100k miles a year hauling everything from show ponies and show dogs to trained bears and mimes to 50000 red marbkea and strawberry flavored underwear are the reason they design and build these trucks...

Wintermane, are you circus folk? Whatever. The relatively small number of people who NEED a truck is decidedly NOT the reason these things are built the way they are. They are built because of the relatively large number of nitwits who WANT them enough to pay inflated prices for them.

The Big 3 need a dedicated hybrid model (like the Prius or the Volt) otherwise they'll never gain respect as hybrid manufacturers.

25-40% improvement is a great plus, but the intent should be to move to 50MPG cars and not 18MPG trucks.

Reducing fuel consumption by 25% is great but how come nobody is talking about reducing emission? Two Mode hybrid from GM actually increased emission of the Yukon hybrid and Yahoe hybrid due to the ICE (V8 6.0L) choice.

Look, Americans build cars better and more reliable than newer Japanese cars. People who are stuck in the 80's, yes, Japanese cars WERE better back then. Nowadays, the Big 3 are back with quality automobiles. GM has spent almost twice as much money on hybrid technology than Toyota EVER did. The only reason they never used these prototypes was market trends as you all said (SUV's, LT's, etc..). You will notice a difference in GM's lineup this year, adding Hybrid options throughout the year to almost all of their models.

"Because they make better cars." <-- (Referring to Japan)

LOL! That's a riot! Plastic crap!

I've got an inexpensive Dodge Caliber that is sturdy, reliable, OK MPG, fairly agile, squeak, creak, & rattle free. As a driver of inexpensive, durable & high MPG foreign cars, Plymouth Champ & Ford Festiva(Mitsubishi & Kia-Mazda), I was v.v. pleasantly surprised by the Caliber.

But think about it. Humans around the world try to make good products. Peoples' livelihood depends on it & they work hard to make good products. All the words complaining about this car or that vehicle does not disguise the fact we love to drive...& good vehicles are part of that love.

Pass the dutchie, Matt.

Jingoism is for the weak-minded.


When BMW introduces its version of the two mode hybrid, the commnets will be universally favorable. Same drivetrain, but a "glamorous" foreign automaker compared to the rather plebeian domestic. so Liberalscan Pecksniffianly dismiss it.

Thne self hatred of anything with a apparent American origin, by left wing, nominal, Americans is tiresome and petulant. The reality is that the BMW or Mercedes or Toyota is probably built here in America too, but somehow above criticism.

This is a good advance in automaking, and should be recognized and welcomed as such. This drivetrain will spread to other vehicles as factory output increases, like all new advances.

From a technical engieneering perspective, this design is more efficient, than the earlier and more primitive Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system. It is also more adapted to the American road network of an extesnive Interstate freeway system, even in urban environments to supplement secondary roads.

Interesting how censors miss hate-filled, insulting, abusive, wild-diversion comments like the following:

When BMW introduces its version of the two mode hybrid, the commnets will be universally favorable. Same drivetrain, but a "glamorous" foreign automaker compared to the rather plebeian domestic. so Liberalscan Pecksniffianly dismiss it. Thne self hatred of anything with a apparent American origin, by left wing, nominal, Americans is tiresome and petulant. The reality is that the BMW or Mercedes or Toyota is probably built here in America too, but somehow above criticism.

Unfair censorship! Why is everybody always picking on me?

These are great vehicles! I can't wait for them to hit the dealer showrooms and are publically available.

HEMI SUVs are a new fave of mine, along with cannolis, the New York Mets, Boston baked beans, and algorithms. I always get a reciept for my cannolis, because you never know.

Some people have come to believe that all you have to do with any Toyota is change the oil and they run forever. More careful analysis will tell you that this just is not true. Image, impressions and perceptions are important to marketing a product and Toyota has used this to their advantage.

Do not misunderstand me, I think that Toyota makes fine products and that the U.S. car makers have been slow to adapt to this, but they are all capable of making good products and we should evaluate them all on their individual merits.

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