FCA US has made great strides in improving the efficiency of the internal combustion engine. Our focus on transmissions—moving from 4, 5, and 6 speeds—to 8 and 9 speeds, will continue to increase these gains in efficiency, performance and refinement.
Power, efficiency and value are an essential part of every vehicle we make. From new transmissions and engines to the battery-electric drive system, FCA US checks all three boxes – with authority.
This is shown by FCA US’s aggressive support for advanced powertrain development. It began as soon as the Company was established in 2009. From model-year 2011 to the present, FCA US has introduced 15 new transmissions, 18 new engines and the battery-electric drive system featured in the acclaimed Fiat 500e all-electric vehicle.
MULTIAIR TURBO ENGINE
The latest addition to the FIRE family of gasoline engines - the 1.4-liter Turbo MultiAir II - was launched on the new Jeep® Renegade in late 2014 and is now also available on the Fiat 500X.
The second generation MultiAir technology brings further improvements in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions building on the advantages of the first generation MultiAir engines which already delivered reductions of up to 10% compared with a conventional gasoline engine with the same displacement.
THE PENTASTAR V-6 ENGINE
Originally launched on the Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2010, the Pentastar V-6 engine now powers more than five million vehicles. It is featured in the Jeep Cherokee, Ram 1500 pickup and 15 other products across 11 segments – from mid-size car to full-size commercial van. The Pentastar family of engines replaced seven engines and has provided a 7% improvement in fuel economy across the fleet. The Pentastar V-6 engine has a flexible architecture, so it can be used with a variety of advanced technologies, such as FCA’s MultiAir, direct injection or turbocharging. This “plug-and-play” characteristic, with little or no modification, accommodates longitudinal and transverse orientations; front-wheel, rear-wheel, all-wheel and four-wheel-drive systems; 6-speed manual transmissions and 6-, 8- and 9-speed automatic transmissions. The 3.6-liter Pentastar has been redesigned for model-year 2016 and delivers fuel-economy improvements of more than 6% while increasing torque more than 14.9%.This occurs at engine speeds below 3,000 rpm. The new V-6 will debut in the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
2016 3.6-liter Pentastar Upgrade
Key features of 3.6-liter Pentastar upgrade for model-year 2016
The 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel engine available on the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 pickup has been listed among Ward’s “10 Best Engines” for three consecutive years. On the Ram 1500, the engine delivers the highest fuel economy among all full-size truck competitors - 12% higher than the next-closest competitor. On the Jeep Grand Cherokee, it offers fuel economy of 30 miles per gallon highway with a driving range of more than 730 miles.
The Company was the first to pair four-wheel-drive and automatic transmission in 1963. Today, FCA US makes another major "shift" as the FWD-based 2015 Chrysler 200 is the first mid-size sedan to feature complete rear-axle disconnect, which reduces energy loss to improve fuel efficiency.
The Company released its first generation of HEMI® headed V-8 engines in the early 1950s, which launched an automotive era that would last over 20 years. Today, the power and performance of the HEMI engine is back in a light-weight, small-block version.
Today, Fuel Saver Technology includes the Multiple Displacement System (MDS) and dual Variable Valve Timing (VVT). The MDS VVT Hemi engine switches from eight to four cylinders for fuel savings.
The Multiple Displacement System (MDS) automatically deactivates four cylinders when eight are not needed - when cruising at highway speeds or under light load.
Variable Valve Timing (VVT) allows the engine to recycle combustion energy and transfer it, rather than rejecting it as heat. It improves engine breathing - improving efficiency and power.
The FCA US transmission portfolio comprises manual transmissions, automated manual transmissions, or AMTs, dual dry clutch transmissions, or DDCTs, and automatic transmissions. This broad offering in designed to meet market demands in the different regions where we operate and to achieve the right vehicle performance characteristics for our individual brands.
FCA US has established a leadership position in automatic transmission technology, offering 8- and 9-speeds to gain efficiency, performance and refinement. These advanced transmissions contribute to a 6 - 10% improvement in fuel economy over their 4-, 5- and 6-speed predecessors. Particular focus is placed on optimizing the engine/transmission pairings. The primary objective is to develop the most efficient powertrain solutions for each vehicle segment in order to significantly reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The new Jeep Renegade became the world’s first small SUV with a nine-speed automatic transmission. This transmission delivers a smooth driving experience and improved fuel efficiency. The nine-speed transmission is also available on the new Fiat 500X.
Meanwhile, the highly efficient TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission is now powering more than one million vehicles, with availability on the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300, Ram 1500 pickup, and Dodge Durango, Charger, and Challenger. This transmission will be used extensively in our rear-wheel drive vehicles.
FCA US has also developed a proprietary all-wheel drive system that disconnects a vehicle’s front or rear axle when all-wheel drive capability is not needed. This feature significantly reduces the number of rotating components in the driveline and enhances fuel economy. The new Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X are equipped with rear-axle disconnect, which seamlessly and automatically switches between two- and four-wheel drive for full-time torque management under all driving conditions. Other FCA US vehicles that offer front- or rear- axle disconnect technology include the Jeep Cherokee, Ram 1500, Chrysler 200, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.
A fundamental aspect of the FCA US vehicle emission reduction strategy centers on the use of alternative fuels. From natural gas to biofuels, the objective is to offer technologies that are aligned with the fuels available in the various markets, and capable of resulting in an immediate reduction in emission levels.
FCA US believes that natural gas is currently the best existing solution for reducing urban pollution levels and CO2 emissions. It is the cleanest and most economical fuel available, and the only currently viable alternative to traditional fuels. Specifically, natural gas produces the lowest levels of harmful emissions, from particulate matter (reduced to essentially zero) to the most reactive hydrocarbons that result in the creation of other pollutants and generates 23% less CO2 emissions compared with gasoline and has the potential to become a renewable fuel source in the form of biomethane.
ELECTRIC AND HYBRID TECHNOLOGIES
FCA US is committed to the development of electric/hybrid technologies, focusing on solutions that are economically viable, competitive in the marketplace, and beneficial to society. Our research activities include the development of electric technologies ranging from start-stop systems that reduce fuel consumption in conventionally powered vehicles to all-electric vehicles. The Company is developing technologies that can be used in a range of electrified vehicles (or EVs), including conventional hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fully electrified and range-extended electric vehicles. We also continue to research vehicle applications for improving the use and re-use of thermal energy, thereby reducing energy consumption, and extending the range for hybrid electric and all-electric vehicle models.
In late 2012, we began manufacturing our first electric vehicle, the Fiat 500e, for sale in California and later Oregon. The 500e drive system was also included among the Wards’ “10 Best Engines” list for 2014 and 2015.
In the United States, FCA US is exploring how electric vehicles could mesh with the energy infrastructure. Through a partnership with Detroit-based NextEnergy a nonprofit energy technology and business accelerator, we are evaluating vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology using four all-electric minivans. 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. During 2014, this partnership resulted in a demonstration project involving a Fiat 500e powering a house. The project revealed the potential use of an electric vehicle as a backup energy source in the event of a power outage.
Note: Not all features and technologies indicated are available in all markets, or on all versions of a given vehicle. Check the company or brand website for information about features available in your area.