Fuel economy is the big buzzword for automakers, and future Chrysler powertrain plans will be designed with EPA ratings in mind.
“The main topic is fuel economy, so everything we do is for fuel economy,” said Paolo Ferrero, Chrysler powertrain senior vice president, told us during a recent press preview. Translation? Expect the company to focus on adding gears to transmissions and upgrading existing engine architectures.
While there’s no word on vehicle applications, Ferrero said that a turbocharged version of Fiat’s 1.4-liter MultiAir engine will arrive in the U.S. market in the future. The normally aspirated version currently used in the Fiat 500 produces 101 hp and 98 lb-ft of torque. A turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir engine in the European-market Alfa Romeo Giulietta and MiTo offers 170 hp.
Chrysler is still developing the previously-announced nine-speed automatic transmission for front-wheel-drive applications. Like the eight-speed unit destined for rear-wheel-drive vehicles, the goal is for reduced fuel consumption and increased acceleration. The company also will eventually launch a dual-clutch transmission. The dual-clutch will be built in-house and is slated for use in front-wheel-drive cars.
We’ll probably see revisions for the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 in the next few years. The engine was designed so that it could easily accommodate future upgrades like direct-injection, turbocharging, or perhaps Fiat’s MultiAir valve technology. A Chrysler engineer told us that the company has run Pentastar mules with all of those upgrades, but couldn’t say which (if any) would actually make it to production.
While Ram has large Cummins turbodiesel engines in use for its heavy-duty trucks, smaller pickups like the Ram 1500 seem unlikely to get oil-burning engines. “If the market demands [light-duty diesels], we will be ready,” said Ferrero. “The technology is available in the Fiat group.”