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Dodge Durango & Chrysler Aspen Hemi Hybrids

Chrysler finally brings two Hybrids to market, but with 5.7-liter Hemi engines…

 |  Dec 31 2008, 12:58 PM

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For 2009, Chrysler has announced it will offer it’s first production Hybrids, the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen Hemi Hybrids. As the name would suggest, both are powered by environmentally-friendly gasoline-electric hybrid engines. Ironically, however, the gasoline engine is a 385hp 5.7-liter V-8.

40 PERCENT BETTER FUEL ECONOMY IN THE CITY

Chrysler doesn’t seem to see the irony, however, and is more interested in promoting the idea that it is possible to have a fully-functional SUV with a 6,000 lb towing capacity that is not AS bad for the Earth. And they do have a point, as the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen Hemi Hybrids are designed more for reduced fuel economy in the city. The Hybrid models are expected to have a 25 percent increase in fuel economy overall with a 40 percent increase in the city.

TWO-MODE HYBRID

Of note, the two SUVs use a new two-mode full hybrid system, which was developed in partnership with General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

In the first mode, the engine can operate in any of three different ways: electric power only, engine power only, or a combination of both. In the second mode, used for highway speeds, passing or towing, the full engine power is enabled as well as an electric assist.

Both the Aspen and Durango Hemi Hybrids will use a variable automatic transmission that automatically switches between the two modes.

One innovation that Chrysler has added to the two-mode system is that it can function with the company’s MDS system, which allows the engine to operate using all eight or just four cylinders.

Chrysler Aspen Hemi Hybrid

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Official release after the jump:

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