City of London Expands and Fine-Tunes its Congestion-Charge Program
Report: GS Yuasa To Produce Batteries For Hybrid Cars

Chrysler to Add Two More 4-Cylinder Models in US

The 4-cylinder Dodge Caliber was Chrysler’s top-selling car in May.

Detroit News. Chrysler Group plans to add two new models with standard four-cylinder engines by the end of 2006 and may add a four-cylinder option to some models that only use larger engines now, according to CEO Tom LaSorda.

Chrysler Group’s sales dropped 14% in May on a day-rate adjusted basis from May 2005. Its top-selling car (not minivan, SUV or truck) for the month was the new Dodge Caliber, with 12,422 units sold. Caliber uses the four-cylinder World Engine, and is also the first Chrysler Group car to use the newest generation of continuously variable transaxles, the CVT2. (Earlier post.)

Chrysler is feeling the pinch from the weighting of its line-up toward trucks, which represent more than 72% of all its vehicles sold so far this year.

We’ve seen a shift, and the industry has seen, from trucks into cars, and we haven’t been very good at talking about fuel economy.

—Chrysler Group CEO Tom LaSorda

Dodge Hornet concept sub-compact.

LaSorda said that Chrysler may add to subcompact to compete with recently introduced models such as the Toyota Yaris (8,065 units in May) and the Honda Fit (5,248 units in May).

At the Geneva auto show in February, Chrysler introduced a new subcompact concept car, the Dodge Hornet, that the automaker originally said might be targeted for the European and international markets. (Earlier post.)


Rafael Seidl

Downsizing saves fuel, so by all means shop for a 6 instead of an 8 or a 4 instead of a 6 cylinder engine. Inline 4s above 1.8L benefit noticeably from inertial compensation, as do all engines with fewer than 4 cylinders (found in microcars and perhaps, future hybrids).

For added power or more aggressive downsizing, consider a turbocharger. Porsche is so far the only manufacturer to offer a full VTG turbo on a gasoline engine; the exhaust gases are hotter than in a diesel so the VTG requires special materials. Other options: twin turbos (parallel in the case of a V6 (BMW), potentially in series w/ bypass in an inline 4, Citroen PSA), or a turbo plus detachable supercharger (VW 1.4L TFSI). All of these strategies minimize turbo lag - not high to begin with these days - to effectively zero.

Thanks largely to diesel engine development, turbos have come a long way since they more or less disappeared from the line-ups of gasoline cars. Drive a modern turbocharged car before you pass judgement on the technology and shell out for a bigger naturally aspirated engine.


Can this give them better gas mileage?
Is the gas motor still only 30% effcient?
Whats up with that? It seems that if we are so
hooked on gas that we could at least make the
motor use every drop of it to make us go -vs-
loose $2.10 of it for every gallon we burn.
This is insame but what isnt from the big 3.
Why not the compressed air recovery system to help
on take off? Or other ways to use every bit of what we
have count. I am still into EV's myself looking at
the Smart for next year. Been doing a lot of reading on
compressed air cars. Maybe combined with EV power to assist initial velocity that will make a good combo.
Just wish I was a Gates so I could invest in the
development of this stuff and make a difference.
The energy economy is the new Internet and I cant wait
to see the results.




The following textbook will answer your question about the fundamental limits of efficiency:
Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach (Hardcover)

Summary (paraphrased from what I remember from my Physics 1005 course): It's theoretically possible to make a heat-engine (like a gasoline engine or a steam engine) about 60% efficient. Some really good engines (say, a steam-driven power-plant or a diesel-locomotive) come surprisingly close to this limit.

Many engines are constrained by things like weight and performance requirements -- a 3000lb gasoline engine that turns 60% of the heat from the burned-fuel into force&movement will make a less-efficient vehicle than a 400lb engine that turns 40% of the heat into force&movement. Personally, I'd put the 3000lb engine in an electric generating plant and the 400lb engine in my car.

Engineering is fascinating discipline!


I wonder what a 1.5 litre quad valve turbo with 30kw hybrid would do.
The turbo lag is not a problem with the hybrid start up torque.

Rafael Seidl

Sjc -

FEV recently studied a 1.8L turbocharrged quad valve w/ GDI and hybrid IMA with supercaps for Audi. The objective was to match the stationary and especially the transient performance of a 3.0L NA engine from the same manufacturer. It was an engineering success but we'll have to wait and see if Audi delivers it in a series production vehicle.;site=a4e/lng=en/do=show/alloc=3/id=3252

Toyota and Subaru are partnering on a similar concept. That said, it is possible to achieve substantial gains at modest cost even without hybridization, and this is likely to be the preferred route for the compact and subcompact vehicle segments.


It is usually asking the US too much to economise, but this is the simplest way - just put a smaller engine in an existing car body.
No hybrid, no diesel, just a smaller engine.
Obviously either of those solutions would be more efficient, but considerably more expensive - in terms of development and purchase costs.
This is what most people do in Europe and Japan - they just drive smaller (engined) cars.
[ For instance, >90% of Toyota Yaris's sold in Ireland have 1.0 L engines (and we get by fine with them) ]

allen zheng

Perhaps now GM will roll out their downsized engines with turbos that have been kept in Europe, or a few low volume mid/upscale brands. Redesign the IMpala, Cobalt, and Aveo, improve quality, improve fuel economy/tech, plus consolidate markets. Then you may have a credible challenge to the Japanese/European car makers. GM is also trying to fall back on the Up and coming China market. If they do not pay attention, the Chinese car makers (indigenous and joint venture partners) will eat their future.


If you put a smaller engine in a car, it is good to make it lighter and more aerodynamic.
The Rocky Mountain Institute ( has been promoting carbon fiber for a while.

Using lighter and stronger materials to make
cars safer and more fuel efficient makes sense.


Downsizing is probably the most common sense thing to do.

Smaller engine means you could have more engine bay room for a larger crush zone, use slightly less stout suspension components, brakes, & wheels (which each incremently adding up to enough saved weight to accomodate all of the other parts being downsized when everything is taken as an entire system).

shaun mann

a note from the motorcycling world, which is much more concerned with reducing weight than cars:

the 600 cc version of a bike often accelerates more quickly than the 1000 cc version of the same bike, even though the 1000 cc version has more power.

sort of like a lotus elise vs a corvette.

I highly approve of that sort of downsizing.

before we talk about carbon fiber for malibus and accords, though, we should remember that these materials are prohibitively expensive.

Aluminum, ceramics and plastics are much more likely replacements (plastic saturns look awful, sure, but the plastic panels on smart cars look quite nice)


Pleased to see Mercedes mechanical sophistication in US vehicles. Hope to see modern engine/trans instead of V8 Hemy and pushrod Dodge Caravan V6 dinosaurs. But no hope to see reduction in chronic to Mercedes and Chrysler vehicles obesity….

Rafael Seidl

Andrey -

I hate to burst your bubble, but the gasoline engines Chrysler is using in the Caliber today were not developed nor built by the Mercedes arm of DCX:

In Europe, the vehicle is also available with a turbodiesel DCX buys from VW. This co-opetition is not as strange as it may seem: Mercedes developed variants of its new Spriner van for VW. Many other automotive brands collaborate under the hood.

Btw, re Mercedes engines:

Harvey D.

With obesity reaching close to 60% and growing fast in North America it will be difficult to over downsize the cars we drive unless we manage to lose a lot of weight. At 600+ lbs per couple, using lighter + stronger materials for the family cars or trucks may be an acceptable alternative solution.

Hybridization with much smaller, more efficient ICE gen-set + powerfull high torque electric motor + light weight super caps or quick charge-discharge batteries to assist accellerations and climbs may be a good interim solution.


The V-8 hemi is a modern engine. It just has the popular name from the 60's. The combustion chambers are not hemispherical but use a more detonation resistant "pentroof" layout.

How does the UK deal with obese people and small cars? They have obesity rates rivaling the US.

Then again the US list of "obesity" is quite odd. I was categorized as very obese when I had a bodyfat of around 14-15% simply because I was 220lbs at 5' 11". It didn't have anything to do with my bodyfat %, simply my weight and height.


Patrick, you are exception not a norm. On any given day just look around you and see how many obese people are there are. 60% is not really high number.

Biking to work would work wonders for a lot of people.


I live in the Pacific Northwest in one of the "Tech Centers" so when I look around me I see atleast 50% or more resembling toothpicks more than beach balls.

Seattle is also usually named as one of the top 10 fittest cities.



I wrote “Mercedes sophistication” not “Mercedes engine”. I know that it is not DB design, so no bubble burst there. Still great powertrain with CVT and with AWD.


V8 configuration is bad by itself. 6 cylinders is better from any respect, not to mention that these monstrous V8 gasoline engines are totally unsuitable to any application – you want power – use turbocharger, you want torque and towing capacity – buy diesel.
By the way, engine by itself could be of resent design, but cast iron block, pushrod valvetrain and two valves per cylinder, max power at 4000 RPM – sorry, I call it a dinosaur.


I think in a few years there may be quite a few midsized crossover hybrids that get more than 30 mpg to choose from.


Drag is a big factor in fuel economy especially with all the highway driving in North America. Boxy styling on grills and hoods that looks like it is designed to create as much air turbulance as possible. Vehicles of all sorts are getting taller and wider, increasing the frontal area which is as important as Cd. Very driveable, attractive prototypes have been made for 20+ years with drag coefficients of 0.2 or less. Consumers need to be educated on how important drag is to their wallets. Dedication in the wind tunnel as opposed to the styling studio is a big part of the success of the Prius and Insight. I'm surprised there hasn't been a huge aftermarket parts market created to fix aerodynamic mediocrity left by stylists.

Max Reid

1st, the market moved from tall Truck based SUV's to medium height Car based CUV's and the next step is to move to Wagon/Hatch style vehicles.

Its happening now and I see so many models like
Scion (xA, xB)
Yaris, Matrix

and many more to come like this Dodge-Hornet.

The comments to this entry are closed.