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Durango Hybrid: Performance, Fuel Economy, Low Emissions & Affordability

12 October 2000

Dodge 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

    Passengers also enjoy a quieter, smoother ride, with no sacrifices in
comfort or equipment options, although trailer tow capability is slightly

    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.