FCA and the UAW and currently negotiating their contract for the next four years. As part of the contract negotiations, FCA has detailed a roadmap of their plans for the next four years to the United Autoworkers Union. MoparInsiders have seen a copy of the report, and there are some exciting pieces of information outlined.
According to the report, the Jefferson North Assembly Plant, which builds the current Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, will see an investment of $3 billion U.S. dollars over the next four years. The Current Dodge Durango will continue to be built at Jefferson North, with the report mentioning that a Durango mHEV (Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle) will be introduced in 2020.
While we don’t know which engine will be powering the mild hybrid version, it would be a safe bet to assume either the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or 5.7-liter HEMI V8 will be under the hood. Last year, Ram debuted mild-hybrid versions of the all-new Ram 1500 in both Pentastar and 5.7-liter HEMI guise under the eTorque moniker. One of these powertrains or even possibly both will likely find their way under the Durangos hood, as like the Ram, the Durango has a rear-wheel-drive architecture.
As the powertrain layout is similar in both the Ram and the Durango, adding the mild-hybrid system should be a relatively easy task for FCA engineers. The eTorque system consists of a Motor Generator Unit (MGU) that replaces the alternator on the front of the engine and is connected to the crankshaft with a large drive belt, along with a 48-volt battery pack the size of a suitcase placed in the vehicle. With this relatively simple system, FCA engineers have extracted a lot of benefits available to the end-user.
In a start-stop situation, the Motor Generator Unit is responsible for shutting off and re-starting the engine. This allows the stop-start system to work almost seamlessly and much smoother and quieter than on a traditional stop-start system. Earlier this year, I tested a Ram 1500 with the Pentastar V6 for a week. As someone that traditionally does not like stop-start systems, I found this implementation to be near invisible.
The eTorque system provides other benefits as well, such as smoothing out transmission shifts by applying a load to the engine’s crankshaft. The Motor Generator Unit can also deliver torque to the drive wheels from a stop, helping the vehicle get off the line for the first half tire rotation, before the combustion motor takes over. Nick Cappa from Ram Truck did an excellent video with Matt Maran, showing all the benefits of eTorque as can be seen below:
While details are still a bit light on what we are going to see with the Dodge Durango Mild Hybrid, MoparInsiders will keep looking into it and update you as more information becomes available.