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Originally scheduled for use in the SRT and Ram Heavy Duty pickups, a newly developed 6.4-liter V8 gasoline engine is now only headed for high-performance car duty. According to Joe Veltri, Chrysler’s VP of product development, the new engine is designed for high performance and not the sort of physical labor that a truck requires. While no specifics have been provided on the engine, it is believed that the 6.4-liter Hemi (which is set to replace the 6.1-liter Hemi) will get Fiat’s Multiair variable valve timing technology as well as cylinder deactivation to significantly improve fuel economy.
Instead, Chrysler appears to be looking at ways to improve the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 currently available to give it added capability. While Veltri sees a need for continued availability of a gasoline engine in the HD trucks, Chrysler is also currently in talks with Cummins to produce a smaller diesel engine that could be used in both the standard Ram 1500 models and as an alternative base engine in the heavy duty trucks.
Being that Chrysler is now owned by Fiat and the importance European automakers place on diesel technology, we expect to see more diesels pop up in the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep range in the future. A while it’s still not likely that diesel cars will catch on in North America, more diesel engines on the truck side could help Chrysler to become a more competitive player with the other big-two.