The Group is focused on the development of alternative propulsion systems, especially for vehicles used in predominantly urban settings.
It has adopted an approach that considers every technology which is potentially capable of reducing the environmental impact of vehicles.
Chrysler Group leads the hybrid and electric technology development for the Group. The resources that were previously spread over various electrification development organizations across the Group have now been gathered and integrated into the Powertrain and Vehicle Engineering departments. Accordingly, Chrysler Group is developing technologies that can be used in a range of electrified vehicles, including conventional hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fully electrified and range-extended electric vehicles.
Chrysler Group is exploring how electric vehicles might mesh with our energy infrastructure. Through a partnership with NextEnergy we are evaluating vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology using four all-electric minivans. Detroit-based NextEnergy is a nonprofit energy technology and business accelerator. If the EVs prove to be viable storehouses of electricity, they could provide energy savings by sending surplus power to the grid. By linking a sufficient number of EVs, their combined surplus power could be sold back to utility companies to offset demand surges and pay EV owners for the surplus energy.
The Group’s first zero-emission Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) for mass production, the Fiat 500e, began production in 2012 for the US market. The Fiat 500e launched in the US with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) label of 108 highway MPGe(1) rating and class leading 87 miles of combined city/highway driving range. Such performance is enabled, in part, by a distinctive “blended” braking strategy that combines the coasting experience associated with conventionally powered vehicles, with the power-saving benefits of regenerative braking. Customers will spend only an estimated $500 a year to power the vehicle assuming a 15,000 mile annual distance, according to the EPA.
The Fiat 500e battery-electric drive system was named among Ward’s 10 Best Engines ranking for 2014 and is the lone representative of electric vehicle technology on this list.
In support of the Zero Emissions Vehicle Regulations (ZEV), development is under way to design the next generation Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV). The next battery electric vehicles focus on reduced costs and extended driving range on a single charge. The core technologies are under development in conjunction with advanced battery suppliers.
(1) MPGe is the EPA-devised measure for determining how many miles an electric vehicle can travel on a quantity of battery-generated electricity with the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline.