This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 16, 2008

Chrysler Unveils Electric-Drive Concepts and Diesels in Detroit

Chrysler LLC brought a wide range of green vehicles to the Detroit Auto Show, including three concept vehicles that incorporate electric drive technologies. The Dodge ZEO concept—short for "Zero Emissions Operation"—is an all-electric sport wagon combining a 64-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack with a 200-kilowatt (268 horsepower) electric motor. The rear-wheel-drive vehicle accelerates to 60 miles per hour (mph) in less than six seconds and has a range of at least 250 miles. The Chrysler ecoVoyager concept combines a similar battery pack and motor with a small hydrogen fuel cell to achieve a 300 mile range. The vehicle can travel about 40 miles on battery power alone and can accelerate to 60 mph in less than eight seconds. And the Jeep Renegade concept, a plug-in hybrid, combines a lithium-ion battery pack with dual 200-kilowatt electric motors on each axle. The Jeep can travel 40 miles on battery power alone and can travel 400 miles with the help of its 1.5-liter, 3-cylinder clean diesel engine. The vehicle features a lightweight aluminum architecture. Chrysler intends to pursue these new drive concepts through ENVI, an in-house organization formed late last year with a focus on electric-drive vehicles and related technologies. See the press releases regarding ENVI, and specifically the Chrysler ecoVoyager, Dodge ZEO, and Jeep Renegade concepts.

Chrysler also announced that the all-new Dodge Ram 1500 pickup will be available as a hybrid in 2010. The Dodge Ram HEMI Hybrid will combine a two-mode hybrid system with a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine. For the 2009 Dodge Ram, Chrysler is launching an improved version of its HEMI V-8 engine featuring variable valve timing and a four-cylinder mode with an expanded operating range. The result is more power and torque, along with a 4% increase in fuel economy. Dodge has also announced that it will introduce a new Cummins turbodiesel engine for its light-duty pickup trucks after 2009. Compared to an equivalent gasoline engine, the new diesel engine will provide a dramatic increase in low-end torque, up to a 30% improvement in fuel efficiency, and a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. It will also meet 2010 emission standards in all 50 states. Dodge currently offers a 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel in its Ram Heavy Duty trucks, and that engine meets the 2010 emission standards. See the Chrysler press releases regarding the Dodge Ram HEMI Hybrid and the new HEMI and diesel engines.

The Detroit Auto Show, officially called the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), opens to the public on Saturday, January 19, and runs through Sunday, January 27. The NAIAS Web site features photos, videos, and press releases from the auto show. See the NAIAS Web site.