DaimlerChrysler Divulges Details of New Jeep Commander 2

November 08, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

DaimlerChrysler Corp. (Auburn Hills, MI) is now disclosing the details of the Jeep Commander 2, which merges a new design with an advanced fuel cell powertrain in a sport-utility vehicle. DaimlerChrysler claims that the vehicle is virtually pollution-free while achieving double the fuel efficiency of a conventional SUV.

While Commander 2 duplicates the shape and design of the first Commander, the new-generation vehicle is powered by a completely reengineered fuel cell system. The fuel cell is now combined with dual front and rear electric motors and advanced batteries into a hybrid-electric fuel cell powertrain. It has near-zero tailpipe emissions and improves the average fuel efficiency by up to 12mpg. Commander 2 runs on electricity generated by the fuel cell, which is fueled by hydrogen from an onboard methanol reformer.

Two ac induction motors, one for each axle, provide full-time, four-wheel drive. A NiMH battery provides supplemental energy during acceleration, while towing heavy payloads and for cold starts, since fuel cell systems require warm-up time. The battery captures the energy normally lost during braking and also helps improve fuel efficiency.

"Commander 2's predecessor, the Jeep Commander, took the Jeep pledge to 'Tread Lightly!' on the environment very seriously. Commander 2 vows to tread even more lightly," said Rich Schaum, executive vice president of product development for DaimlerChrysler. "The hybrid-drive system integrates an on-board methanol reformer that produces near-zero emissions in one of North America's fastest growing market segments — SUVs."