On June 13th, the Kokomo Perspective posted an article discussing the future of Fiat Chrysler’Automobiles’ (FCA) Indiana Transmission Plant #2 (ITP II). Employment at this plant has dropped sharply, from 900 down to fewer than 100 today; but the UAW hopes to see the plant become the nexus of FCA’s hybrid future.
That brings about some interesting questions. Could FCA be quietly designing a new hybrid transmission much line it did the single-input electrically variable transmission (SiEVT) used for front-wheel drive applications? Is FCA working on an in-house designed hybrid transmission with a plan to build it at the ITP II plant in Kokomo, Indiana?
For well over two years, I have heard rumbling that FCA was continuing to move forward with new transmission designs, focusing on hybrid technology. The recently introduced SiEVT front-wheel-drive transaxle caught many people by surprise, since it was a design that many critics simply did not think that FCA had the resources to produce.
With ever evolving emissions regulations and diesel continuing to receive a black-eye in both the United States and Europe, the future for FCA looks to be focused on hybridization. Fortunately, the SiEVT has turned out to be a game-changer for minivans and will probably lead to a rapid hybridization of the entire FCA front-wheel-drive lineup over the next five to ten years (I extensively covered the design over at Allpar).
Doing the same for rear-wheel drive applications looks to be the best path for a company that relies greatly on trucks, SUV’s, and performance cars.
Michael Volkmann, a mechanical engineer in the steel industry, autocrossed and road-raced Neons. Michael has drag raced his 1971 Duster 340, 2015 Dodge Charger SRT392, 2009 Challenger R/T, and Neons, of which he’s owned seven — one SRT4, three ACRs, and three Sport Coupes.