DETROIT - While other automakers are busy developing hybrids - vehicles that can run on fuel and electricity - Chrysler Corp. has rolled out its 'mybrid' vehicle - the Dodge Intrepid ESX2.
'We coined the term internally - it's a mild hybrid,' said Bernard Robertson, Chrysler's vice president of engineering technologies.
The Intrepid ESX2 uses a diesel engine as its primary power source and a small battery pack and electric motor to run the car's accessories and assist the engine during hard acceleration.
Chrysler's 'mybrid' would cost consumers about $15,000 more than the 1998 Dodge Intrepid, said Tom Gale, Chrysler's executive vice president for product strategy.
The carmaker developed a previous attempt at a hybrid, the Dodge Intrepid ESX.
That car would have cost $60,000 more than its production counterpart, said Gale, 'So we're getting closer every year.'
The 'mybrid' battery pack weighs 60kg, compared with about 230kg for a full-size, hybrid-car battery pack.
The lightweight ESX2 combines a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder, direct-injection diesel engine with an advanced lead acid battery.
The car consumes 3.36 liters of fuel per 100km, Gale said, which brings it near the US goal of achieving 80 miles per gallon of fuel.
The engine generates 74hp, or 94hp when assisted by the electric motor. Torque is 203Nm with electric motor assistance.
The ESX2's body consists of six carbon-fiber panels that weigh 50 percent less than the 80 steel pieces they replace on the traditional Intrepid. If the ESX2 went into production, Chrysler would replace the carbon fiber with a thermoplastic polyester - the same basic material from which plastic beverage bottles are made.