In 2010, Chrysler's vehicles were averaging 19.2 miles per gallon in fuel economy, compared to that of its competitors who were averaging 22.5 miles per gallon. Although Chrysler ranks 13th out of 13 automakers, when it comes to fuel economy they are hopeful that their newest project will have them charging up that list and also place them on the list of automakers to have a hybrid offering.
The proposed hydraulic hybrid system is the first attempt at placing such a system into a passenger vehicle. In the past, only heavy work trucks were installed with these systems because of the massive size of the components. By starting off installation in Town and Country minivans Chrysler will have time to come up with a solution to the issue of room for the system in smaller vehicles. By using the Town and Country they will be able to place the low-pressure fluid accumulator tank into the compartments that were previously used for Stow-N-Go and the high pressure accumulator tank under the front seat in place of the spare tire.
As far as statistics go, the new system would improve fuel economy by 30 to 35 percent and decrease the emission of greenhouse gases by 25 percent. The hydraulic hybrid system would use a hydraulic pressure vessel to capture and reuse the energy lost in braking allowing it to 10 times the amount of power as a hybrid electrical system. Along with this is the simple fact that it is cheaper to have such a system, 50 percent cheaper.
CEO Sergio Marchionne is optimistic that partnering with EPA will allow Chrysler to reduce its carbon footprint and provide better options for its consumers. By November, the hybrid minivan should be constructed and by July 2012 all of the testing is expected to be completed.