Daimlerchrysler Develops Plug-in Hybrid

By: Glady Reign

Car buyers around the world are now looking for fuel efficient vehicles, and this demand has led car manufacturers to develop fuel efficient vehicles.

DaimlerChrysler, one of the major players in the global auto scene, is currently expanding its advanced propulsion technology program to include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The newest addition to the group's lineup of fuel efficient vehicle is the plug-in Dodge Sprinter hybrid electric vehicle.

Through the first quarter of 2008 from today, twenty of the aforementioned vehicles will be tested by consumers in the United States. DaimlerChrysler is the only car maker to evaluate their plug-in hybrid vehicles by letting their customers themselves have a go at it.

Four of the said vehicles are already in the hands of customers and are being tested for their real-world performance. These vehicles feature advanced battery technology and a hybrid drivetrain configuration which pertains to an electric motor that provides the additional power to its small internal combustion engine.

The vehicles are equipped with a small engine which will be available either in gasoline or diesel fuel configuration. Of course, diesel engine will give consumers the better fuel efficiency of the two engines. Diesel's ability to provide huge amount of energy and its relatively cheaper price compared to gasoline makes it the obvious choice for those who wants to save cash on the pump.

Aside from the efficient gasoline or diesel engines, the plug-in 2007 Dodge Sprinter hybrid will be featuring a Lithium-ion battery pack. Li-ion as it is called is more powerful and weighs considerably less than the usual nickel-metal hydride battery. This means that the plug-in vehicles will also weigh less when compared to a similar vehicle equipped with a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. The lighter the vehicle, the less power it needs to drive it which means that the switch to lithium-ion batteries will indirectly reduce the amount of fuel consumed by the internal combustion engine.

The development of batteries is the most common issue being looked into by car manufacturers developing hybrid electric vehicles. Mark Chernoby, the Vice President for Advanced Vehicle Engineering for the Chrysler Group, says that: "For plug-in hybrid technology to move forward, a dramatic leap in battery technology is necessary." He further emphasized the battery technology being used by the Dodge Sprinter plug-in hybrid. "The energy storage systems in the Dodge Sprinter PHEV concept fleet will provide valuable field experience on the possibilities with lithium-ion battery technology," says Chernoby.

The plug-in technology will greatly increase the fuel efficiency of hybrid vehicles since vehicles with this technology can conveniently recharge its battery pack via a common household power outlet. The plug-in Dodge Sprinter hybrid is reported to have the ability to travel up to 20 miles on battery power alone. For some motorists, that is enough to cover their mileage in a day. That means that they may not even consume a drop of fuel in a day.

This technology needs more improvements so that consumers can easily afford these vehicles as they can easily afford to buy replacement when the old ones wear out.

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