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Old 04-23-2009, 03:45 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Scoop! Chrysler Hopes to Build Plug-In Ram and Town & Country




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A little internet birdie told us that Chrysler has approached government officials in New York state about participating in a trial program for upcoming plug-in hybrid vehicles. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has been offered about 20 such vehicles, to be comprised of Dodge Ram crew cab pickup trucks and Chrysler Town & Country minivans.

Of course, this all hinges on Chrysler’s continued existence, which is anything but a certainty right now. To that end, the pitching of the program seems as if it might be a last-ditch effort to secure additional bailout funds by showing the government that the company is serious about green initiatives. If Chrysler somehow defies the odds and actually produces these vehicles, they’ll spec out as follows.

Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab Plug-In Hybrid

The plug-in Ram likely will be a modified version of the upcoming Ram two-mode hybrid, which is set to launch sometime in 2010. The plug-in version will use the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and a lithium-ion battery pack, together making a maximum of 399 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque.

The plug-in pickup will have a 20-mile electric-only range, and Dodge claims it will have a total range of over 650 miles. The truck is claimed to return as high as 42 mpg in certain situations, a lofty promise to be sure. The battery pack can be fully recharged in two hours from 220-volt power or four hours from a 110-volt plug. Like most hybrid systems, regenerative brakes will help replenish the batteries.

The Ram will also have the added feature of being able to act as a generator. Four 120-volt and one 240-volt outlet in the bed, as well as a 120-volt plug in the truck’s center console will feed electricity from the batteries that can be restocked by the truck’s engine. The trucks offered to the state of New York are crew cabs with a four-wheel-drive system that can decouple the front axle to save fuel.

Payload is listed at 1300 lb, while the truck is rated to tow 6000 lb. The truck itself should tip the scales at about 5900 lb, or nearly the same as a standard Ram crew cab.

Chrysler Town & Country Plug-In Hybrid
New York government agencies will also be able to opt for a Chrysler Town & Country plug-in hybrid. The plug-in vans will not be offered with Stow ‘n Go seats, because the lithium-ion batteries occupy the underfloor storage bins; Swivel ‘n Go second-row seats will be included.

The program’s vans will use Chrysler’s new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6—running on gasoline or E85—as part of their hybrid powertrain. (This revelation, of course, leads us to conclude that the Pentastar powerplant will soon make its way into regular consumer-grade minivans.) Output will stand at 290 hp with battery assistance. Fuel economy is quoted as high as 53 mpg, a claim we find as dubious as the 42-mpg figure for the Ram. Chrysler says the van can run up to 24 miles on electricity alone and travel a total of 700 miles.

Unlike the Ram, the plug-in T&C will weigh considerably more than its standard gas-powered counterpart; curb weight is listed at 5240 lb, about 600 more than a conventional Chrysler van. Charge time matches the Ram’s, taking either two or four hours depending on supplied voltage. Payload is rated at 1200 lb and the van will be able to pull 1000 lb.

The New York trials would begin in January of 2011 and last for three years. The vehicles would be expected to log at least 50,000 miles over that time. Vehicles would be leased to the government at no cost, with the agencies only having to cover fuel and regular maintenance. It’s likely that Chrysler is offering similar loans to other states or organizations, as they recently showed an all-electric van concept to the U.S. Postal Service.
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...untry_car_news
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:47 AM   #2
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I'm guessing the Plug-In Ram will be useful for getting it out of the garage, and maybe down the driveway, so that the tow truck will have an easier time when it won't start in the morning.
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:57 AM   #3
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So wait, they made these two vehicles hybrids and they can ONLY go 20-24 miles on electricity??!?? Does that include ummmm traffic??? I love how they talk about COMBINED power, when in reality you are not going to run the gas engine and electric engine at the same time to "double boost". Plus, how many E85 gas stations are out there? Great job Chrysler, my advice: Quit your day job!
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Old 04-23-2009, 09:07 AM   #4
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good thing they are going to disappear very soon
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Old 04-23-2009, 09:59 AM   #5
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^ They're not going to disappear. IF you've been following the news, you'd know that.
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chris05STi View Post
So wait, they made these two vehicles hybrids and they can ONLY go 20-24 miles on electricity??!?? Does that include ummmm traffic??? I love how they talk about COMBINED power, when in reality you are not going to run the gas engine and electric engine at the same time to "double boost". Plus, how many E85 gas stations are out there? Great job Chrysler, my advice: Quit your day job!
The engine is off in the stop part of stop-and-go traffic situations...

I'm rooting for Chrysler as well as Ford and GM. They have a chance to become the best once again; you can't waste a crisis.
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:27 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chris05STi View Post
So wait, they made these two vehicles hybrids and they can ONLY go 20-24 miles on electricity??!?? Does that include ummmm traffic??? I love how they talk about COMBINED power, when in reality you are not going to run the gas engine and electric engine at the same time to "double boost". Plus, how many E85 gas stations are out there? Great job Chrysler, my advice: Quit your day job!
The efficiency of cars powered by electricity isn't hurt much by city traffic. Regenerative braking helps, but most of all, electric motors don't waste fuel by idling.

Their vehicles *can* run on E85, but you can also put regular gas in them.
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Chris05STi View Post
So wait, they made these two vehicles hybrids and they can ONLY go 20-24 miles on electricity??!?? Does that include ummmm traffic???
That will cover most Americans daily commute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris05STi View Post
I love how they talk about COMBINED power, when in reality you are not going to run the gas engine and electric engine at the same time to "double boost".
Why not? Every other hybrid does.

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Originally Posted by Chris05STi View Post
Plus, how many E85 gas stations are out there? Great job Chrysler, my advice: Quit your day job!
~1900. My advice: Quit your ill informed ramblings!
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Old 04-23-2009, 01:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott_gunn View Post
The efficiency of cars powered by electricity isn't hurt much by city traffic. Regenerative braking helps, but most of all, electric motors don't waste fuel by idling.

Their vehicles *can* run on E85, but you can also put regular gas in them.


Seven Reasons Why Testing Mid-level Ethanol Blends Matters

By Coleman Jones
Biofuels Implementation Manager
The question of raising the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline is back in the news with the filing of a petition to allow as much as 15 percent ethanol to be mixed into gasoline. GM is a big supporter of ethanol as an alternative fuel to help reduce petroleum use, but with respect to mid-level blends, there is a lot of testing that needs to happen before such a change is made.

This testing is important for two reasons: mid-level ethanol blends could affect the control systems of all kinds of unsuspecting equipment, and ethanol is more corrosive than gasoline.

Most of the gasoline for sale in the U.S. today is blended with 10 percent ethanol. Some pumps are labeled this way and others are not. That’s ok, because vehicles manufactured since 1980 are engineered to tolerate up to 10 percent ethanol. E10 typically has no impact on the fuel system, its components or how they operate.

We don’t know whether the same will be true for E15. There are seven areas that the auto, oil and small equipment industries agree should be tested before changing composition of the fuel.
  • Catalyst durability, which is especially significant because testing in Australia demonstrated catalyst deterioration as a result of prolonged mid-level blend (E20) use in some vehicles.
  • Engine and fuel system durability. This is important both because many of these components are upgraded on U.S. and Brazilian vehicles to be compatible with ethanol; and because small engines are particularly vulnerable to fuel changes.
  • On-board diagnostics, which are used in many states to monitor emissions compliance.
  • Tailpipe emissions. Testing is important to see how mid-level blends will perform under stringent emissions standards required in California and the Northeast states.
  • Evaporative emissions system durability.
  • Emissions inventory and air quality modeling.
  • Operability, which is, again, a particular concern for small engines.
The only full durability testing for mid-level blends was done on E20 six years ago in Australia. The outcome of those tests showed catalyst performance degradation in 40 percent of the vehicles tested on E20. The catalyst is the part of the engine that converts pollutants and keeps them from exiting the tailpipe.

When it comes to meeting the Renewable Fuel Standard that was part of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, we think widespread use of E85 is the best and likely the only way to meet the 36 billion gallons of ethanol in 2022.
We really want to see biofuels succeed in the marketplace.

And we’re continuing to familiarize people with ethanol’s advantages - fewer greenhouse gas emissions and reduced reliance on petroleum. We know ethanol has lower energy density and that it takes the correct pricing to make up for the 20-25 percent fewer miles per gallon, but it is definitely part of the overall fuel solution.

The best way to ensure that ethanol keeps a good reputation is to execute the comprehensive durability testing and use the data to determine the makeup of tomorrow’s gasoline
http://fastlane.gmblogs.com/archives...s_matters.html
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Old 04-23-2009, 01:40 PM   #10
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Default Who killed Chrysler?

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^ They're not going to disappear. IF you've been following the news, you'd know that.
NEW YORK (Fortune) -- The survival of Chrysler as an independent company is looking increasingly unlikely.
The fundamentals of its business structure - unappealing passenger cars, dismal quality, little technology, minimal international operations - are scary enough. Meanwhile, continuous rounds of layoffs have hollowed out the company, starving it of the basic resources it needs to engineer, manufacture and market automobiles.

One executive described Chrysler as looking like an imposing castle from the outside, but actually being empty once you got beyond the front door.

Now debt-holders are balking at government demands to take a haircut, car sales show no signs of improving, and the government's May 1 deadline for demonstrating viability is fast approaching. Having escaped bankruptcy in the late '70s and again in the early '90s, Chrysler appears to have run out of options

Fiat, once held out as Chrysler's last hope, no longer needs to go through the trouble of a formal takeover. It could easily cherry-pick the company's assets in a liquidation. It would cost the Italian automaker a few bucks more, but it would be a lot cheaper in the long run.

So what happened to Chrysler?

While General Motors has been on a slippery slope for 40 years, the roots of Chrysler's decline are more recent. At the time of its merger with Daimler in 1998, it was the hottest company in Detroit.

With its dream team of engineers, designers, and marketers, Chrysler had created a high-profit lineup of minivans, pickup trucks and Jeeps. At one point, its CEO, Robert J. Eaton, was fantasizing about 20% market share and 8% profit margins. Mixing in Daimler's technical resources, global reach, and the always-tantalizing benefits of synergy should have created a Chrysler recipe for success.

But the Germans hamstrung their new American unit more than they helped it. Their formal business structure clashed with Chrysler's more freewheeling ways and promised resources took a long time to make their way from Stuttgart to Auburn Hills.

And Chrysler made plenty of mistakes on its own. The dream team disbanded, engineering costs skyrocketed and an ill-conceived efficiency program hurt vehicle quality and customer appeal.

In retrospect, the fatal blow was struck when then-CEO Dieter Zetsche tried to stretch the product development budget by churning out more new models with less money. It sounded like black magic -- and as it turned out -- it was.

What Chrysler produced were half a dozen derivative models with eye-catching but cheesy styling, bargain-basement interiors and the worst quality in Detroit. Customers caught on quickly. This year, sales of many models are just one-third of what they were just a year ago:

-- 3,186 copies of the square-cornered Jeep Commander, derided as the box that the smaller Grand Cherokee came in, sold in the first quarter, compared with 9,648 a year ago.
-- The smaller, clunkier and even more angular Jeep Compass performed even more poorly, with 3,147 sold in the first quarter versus 10,400 in the same 2008 period.
-- Looking like an extra from a <i>Transformers</i> movie, the Jeep-based Dodge Nitro has lit very few fires. Exactly 5,218 have found buyers this year, as against 15,355 last year.

A special place in the Chrysler Hall of Shame should be reserved for the executive who green-lighted the Sebring sedan. Designed to compete against the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord, the Sebring became a total flop in the midsize segment by trying to combine the virtues of a higher "command seating" position with traditional four door styling. The awkward design satisfied no one. Chrysler managed to sell 30,411 Sebrings in the first three months of last year but just 5, 636 this year.

Instead of 20% market share, Chrysler has notched just 11.2% of U.S. sales in 2009. And of course its profit margin is less than zero.

With that kind of product lineup, why would Fiat want to rush in to save the company? The redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee looks promising, but its arrival in dealer showrooms is many months away. A new Chrysler 300C is on the way, too, but its day may have come and gone. Designs that really turn heads rarely have legs.

Fiat would be far better off bidding for Chrysler's viable pieces after the lights are turned off: the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler; Chrysler and Dodge minivans, and Dodge trucks.

After it buys the cars and trucks, it may want to acquire the valuable Saturn network from General Motors to have some dealers through which to sell them. And then Chrysler can join American Motors, Studebaker-Packard and all the other departed in the automotive graveyard.
http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/23/auto...on=money_autos
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Old 04-23-2009, 01:45 PM   #11
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Default

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^^ But Then Again

DETROIT (Reuters) -- Fiat SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne said today he likes Chrysler LLC in its "totality" and considered it premature to mull over picking up the U.S. automaker's assets in bankruptcy.

The alliance talks with struggling U.S. carmaker were progressing with one-week to a "drop dead" deadline, Marchionne said on a conference call, following the release of Fiat's quarterly results.

Marchionne also said he was not in a position to assess whether all the conditions of the alliance would be met by the deadline.

"Based on what I know today, I see no reason why this should not happen and I can only confirm our unwavering commitment to get this transaction done," Marchionne said.
Chrysler, which is operating under U.S. government emergency loans, has been given until the end of April to reach an alliance with Fiat and cut its debt and labor costs or face a potential bankruptcy and liquidation.

"We continue to make progress in terms of the alliance," Marchionne said in the conference call with analysts. "We have spent a significant amount of time with people from Chrysler and the U.S. Treasury finalizing this transaction."
Marchionne said the discussions would continue until April 30, "which is the date that has been set by the President of the United States as the drop dead date on this deal."
The top executive at the Italian automaker also said there were circumstances in which the Italian automaker could make cash outlays to the alliance, especially where they would benefit Fiat rather than Chrysler, 80 percent controlled by Cerberus Capital Management LP.

Fiat, however, will not serve as a "financial support mechanism" that Chrysler needs to get through the current financial crisis, Marchionne said in addressing whether Fiat would have an obligation to support the U.S. automaker.

He said Fiat was willing to look at industrial cooperation opportunities with Chrysler that would require financial outlays, especially where they would benefit Fiat, he said.

"It's not an unbounded restriction on committing cash. We are going to commit cash at the relevant time if the need arises," Marchionne said.
http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dl...304239865/1229
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