Durango Hybrid: Performance, Fuel Economy, Low Emissions & Affordability
12 October 2000Dodge Durango Hybrid Sport Utility Offers Performance, Fuel Economy, Low Emissions in an Affordable Vehicle
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - DaimlerChrysler is preparing to offer a hybrid vehicle that customers want -- a high performance sport-utility vehicle with improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions at an affordable cost. The gasoline-electric hybrid Dodge Durango SUV, with patented through-the- road powertrain technology, gives consumers the option of an environmentally- friendly vehicle that continues to provide the performance, size and utility suited to for the U.S. market. "You can get V-8 power out of a V-6 and make fewer stops at the gas station," said Bernard Robertson, DaimlerChrysler Senior Vice President, Engineering Technologies. "It's exactly what people want -- to be able to have a positive impact on the environment without having to pay for it. And we are doing this with a sport-utility vehicle, one of the most popular segments of the market today." Federal legislation to create up to $3,000 in tax incentives for purchasers of hybrid vehicles could make the Durango hybrid cost competitive with its gasoline-powered counterpart. The hybrid Durango combines two separate propulsion systems: a 3.9-liter, V-6 engine with automatic transmission that powers the rear wheels, and a three-phase, AC induction electric motor that drives the front wheels. The electric motor assists the gasoline engine during acceleration, and recaptures energy normally lost during deceleration. The combination provides the power, acceleration and performance of a conventional V-8 engine. In fact, it is quicker than a 5.9-liter V-8-powered Durango from 0-60 miles per hour. The hybrid powertrain yields a 20 percent increase in fuel efficiency, achieving 18.6 miles per gallon combined city/highway, compared with 15.5 miles per gallon for the conventional V-8 Durango. The application of fuel- saving hybrid technology in a popular sport-utility vehicle results in greater overall savings in fuel consumption than the same technology applied to a smaller passenger car. "If every SUV sold in this country got that kind of improved fuel efficiency with a hybrid powertrain, we would save 142 million gallons of gas a year," Robertson noted. In addition, the improved fuel efficiency results in reduced emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is produced in the combustion of fossil fuels. Passengers also enjoy a quieter, smoother ride, with no sacrifices in comfort or equipment options, although trailer tow capability is slightly reduced. The gains in fuel efficiency result in part from the downsizing of components in the hybrid vehicle. A smaller engine can be used, permitting use of smaller related components, including catalytic converter, fan and fan clutch, radiator, and drive shaft. The improved fuel efficiency, in turn, permits use of a smaller fuel tank (20 gallons vs. 25 gallons). With the performance provided by the gas-electric hybrid, the Durango can be adapted for the U.S. and European markets to meet consumers' differing demands for fuel efficiency, lower emissions and performance. DaimlerChrysler has been a leader in the development of vehicles demonstrating hybrid technology, including the ESX, ESX2 and ESX3 concept cars with mild hybrid, or "mybrid" powertrain technology, and the Chrysler Citadel, the first concept vehicle to implement DaimlerChrysler's patented through-the- road technology. "Consumers are in love with the size, safety, comfort and versatility of the sport-utility vehicle. To offer them an affordable SUV that is also more fuel efficient and lower in emissions would have a major impact on our national oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions," said Robertson.