Chrysler Plans Release of Fuel Efficient Hybrid Hemi Engine

May 02, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

Chrysler Group announced that it will introduce a "fuel efficient" Hemi V-8 engine when the company introduces a hybrid version early next year. The hybrid Hemi will be included in its Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen sport utility vehicles, and are claimed to improve their fuel economy by nearly 40% in the city and roughly 25% on the highway. Aspens and Durangos currently get 13mpg in the city and 18 on the highway, but the hybrid versions should get an estimated 18.2 mpg in city driving and about 22.5 mpg on freeways.

The hybrid system uses a computer to connect two electric motors with the V-8 engine that has the capability of operating with four or eight cylinders. The computer picks from thousands of combinations of running on one electric motor, two electric motors, a combination of electric motors and the gasoline engine, or shutting down some of the V-8’s cylinders. The computer can judge speed, towing load, terrain, temperature, humidity, wetness of the pavement and other factors to decide the most fuel-efficient combination of technologies.

Chrysler would not reveal the price of the hybrid models, nor state the towing capacity other than to state that it knows people want something comparable to the current 8,950 pounds.