Chrysler LLC will today announce its first hybrid-electric production cars, on press day at the Los Angeles motor show. The new Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid model will allow the Chrysler Group to join Toyota, Honda, Ford, General Motors and Nissan amid the ranks of car companies currently offering full, two-mode hybrid electric models for sale.
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Chrysler’s new hybrid-electric system has been developed in tandem with General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. It’s a 300-volt, 87bhp system with both an electric Continuously Variable Transmission and four fixed gear ratios; through the former it’s capable of propelling the car on battery power only, and through the latter it improves highway fuel efficiency relative to a conventional hybrid transmission. In Chrysler’s new Aspen and Dodge Durango models it’s mated to the company’s 5.7-litre HEMI V8 petrol engine, and makes around 385bhp all in. It also makes the cars capable of a heady 22.8mpg when touring, and 21.6mpg around town.Neither the Aspen or the Durango are sold in the UK and, according to one Chrysler UK source we spoke to, the plan for rolling out the brand's hybrid system in Europe and the UK has yet to be agreed. The 5.7-litre HEMI engine it's strapped to no longer appears in any new Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge product sold here, but it has been fitted to the 300C in the past. We'd tip that, or one of Jeep's larger SUVs, to use the powertrain first over here.