Last week Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne conceded the need for hybrid electrification in order to meet projected federal fuel efficiency mandates.
The company ranked last among large automakers in the U.S. for fuel efficiency in 2013, has largely resisted hybridization, but Marchionne said Chrysler is on track anyway even as it would need to bring more hybrids to market.
“The house will make it,” said Marchionne of 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) targets. “Hybrids become a very large component of that fleet. You can’t get it without the hybrids. It’s impossible.”
The occasion of his speech was a dedication ceremony in Tipton, Ind. for a $162 million plant which will make 9-speed transmissions with design licensed from ZF Friedrichshafen.
This innovation by itself is a present measure toward greater rated fuel economy. With the 9-speed transmission installed, the redesigned for 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan is projected to reach the efficiency of a mid-level hybrid – at least on the highway, at 36 mpg.
Unclear is what the Chrysler 200 would return in the city, a scenario in which electric motors enable much better efficiency than conventional tech – even those with ostensible boasting rights for the highway cycle.
This news of the 9-speed transmission comes also as Volkswagen has upped the ante declaring a 10-speed transmission is due.
Also in Chrysler hybrid news, a couple weeks ago it was reported the company would introduce a plug-in hybrid version of its Town and Country minivan.
That vehicle said to be coming in 2016 may therefore have stable mates as Chrysler announces more types of hybrids yet to be determined.