In a move that would have come as a surprise only if it hadn't happened, Chrysler has announced that the Aspen SUV will join the Dodge Durango early next year in getting a hybrid drivetrain. The Durango hybrid had already been announced and Chrysler has now confirmed that both variants will pair the Two-Mode hybrid system with a 5.7L Hemi V-8.

The Hemi is also equipped with cylinder deactivation that can turn off four of the eight cylinders under light load conditions. Chrysler is claiming a twenty-five percent improvement in overall fuel efficiency and forty percent improvement in city driving. The Two-Mode system is being jointly developed by General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and BMW. The Chrysler press release and a video of Mark Chernoby, VP of Advanced Vehicle Engineering are after the jump.

[Source: Chrysler]


Aspen Joins Chrysler Group Hybrid Lineup And Yeah, It's Gotta HEMI®!

• Chrysler Aspen Hybrid joins Dodge Durango Hybrid in 2008
• Vehicles feature 5.7-liter HEMI® Hybrid with Multi-displacement System (MDS)
• HEMI Hybrid delivers more than 25-percent fuel economy improvement
• Full-size SUVs to boast nearly 40-percent mpg improvement in the city
• Chrysler Group's advanced hybrid system leapfrogs traditional hybrid design

Auburn Hills, Mich. - That new Chrysler Aspen Hybrid gotta HEMI®?
Yes, it does – as does the new Dodge Durango Hybrid. Both vehicles, powered by Chrysler Group's all-new 5.7-liter HEMI Hybrid powertrain, debut next year as the first volume-production hybrid offerings from the Chrysler Group and the first vehicles to feature DaimlerChrysler's advanced two-mode hybrid technology.

"The all-new Chrysler Group HEMI Hybrid will offer our customers the best of both worlds: renowned performance and significantly improved fuel economy," said Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President – Product Development, Chrysler Group. "With the new HEMI-powered Chrysler Aspen Hybrid, we are delivering the ultimate combination of fuel efficiency, overall performance and capability in a premium full-size SUV."


The new 5.7-liter HEMI Hybrid is expected to deliver an overall fuel economy improvement of more than
25 percent, including an improvement of nearly 40 percent in the city.

The HEMI powerplant, in hybrid form, will continue to feature Chrysler Group's Multi-displacement System (MDS), which allows the engine to seamlessly alternate between four-cylinder mode when less power is needed and V-8 mode when more power is in demand. For the fifth year in a row - and every year since its 2003 re-introduction - Chrysler Group's famous 5.7-liter HEMI engine has earned a place on Ward's 10 Best Engines list.

The new Chrysler Aspen Hybrid and Dodge Durango Hybrid vehicles represent a bold change in what is generally a "me too" category. Chrysler Group's full-size hybrid vehicles will deliver seamless dependable power on demand in an efficient package. With an electrically variable transmission (featuring two electric motors), two full hybrid modes of operation, and four fixed mechanical gear ratios, the drive system improves fuel economy around town and at highway speeds.

Chrysler Aspen
Boasting elegant Chrysler styling, unsurpassed capability and performance and abundant premium amenities, the Chrysler Aspen is a premium SUV that is a value alternative to luxury-priced competitors. Offering more for less, Aspen features numerous premium features, elegant Chrysler design, 30 safety features and best-in-class horsepower, torque and interior room.

Two-mode Hybrid
Chrysler Group's two-mode hybrid powertrain - jointly developed by DaimlerChrysler, General Motors and the BMW Group - represents a major automotive industry milestone due to the unprecedented fully integrated combination of electric motors with a fixed-gear transmission.

As a result of the low- and high-speed electric continuously variable transmission (ECVT) modes, the system is commonly referred to as the two-mode hybrid. However, the sophisticated fuel-saving system also incorporates four fixed gear ratios for high efficiency and power-handling capabilities in a broad variety of vehicle applications. The new Chrysler Aspen Hybrid and Dodge Durango Hybrid vehicles can be powered either by the electric motors or by the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine – or a combination of the two. During the two ECVT modes and four fixed-gear operations, the hybrid system can use the electric motors for boosting and/or regenerative braking. When full power is needed, the system automatically adjusts for passing, driving steep grades or hauling a trailer. The result is trend-setting hybrid technology that provides superior fuel economy, performance and load-carrying capability.

Joint Development Center
Located in Troy, Mich., the DaimlerChrysler, GM and BMW Hybrid Development Center jointly developed the overall modular two-mode hybrid system and the individual components: electric motors, transmission, high-voltage battery, high-performance electronics, wiring, safety systems, energy management and hybrid system control units. In addition, the Hybrid Development Center is responsible for system integration and project management.

Chrysler Group Advanced Propulsion Technology
Hybrid technology is one part of Chrysler Group's advanced propulsion technology umbrella, which also includes efficient gasoline engines, advanced clean-diesel technology, and ethanol flex-fuel and zero-emission fuel cell vehicles. DaimlerChrysler is the only automaker building plug-in hybrids and testing them with customers in the United States.