The Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee engineered to operate on clean, renewable, American-made ethanol fuel will be available to U.S. customers as part of DaimlerChrysler’s lineup of alternate fuel vehicles in 2007.
Overall for 2007, the company plans to sell more than 250,000 Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) capable of running on E85 (85 percent ethanol) fuel, said Tom LaSorda, Chrysler Group President and CEO. That number will increase to nearly 500,000 units beginning in the 2008 model year — about one-quarter of the company’s U.S. fleet.
“A significant part of the solution to our energy, environment and national security issues can be homegrown,” LaSorda said.
LaSorda discussed the benefits of renewable fuels ethanol and biodiesel in remarks to the Renewable Fuel Association annual conference in Washington, D.C., today.
For 2007, all Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee retail and fleet buyers who select the 4.7-liter engine option will receive vehicles capable of running on E85 fuel. Also available in Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) capability for 2007 are:
* Chrysler Sebring sedan and convertible with the 2.7-liter engine; and
* Dodge Dakota and Dodge Ram pickups and Dodge Durango SUV with 4.7-liter engine.
Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans equipped with 3.3-liter engines will also be available with FFV capability for fleet customers.
About 1.5 million FFV-capable Chrysler Group vehicles are already on the road, representing about 10 percent of all vehicles sold by the company since 1998 — a greater percentage than any other company.
In addition, Chrysler Group is the industry leader in promoting use of biodiesel, a clean, renewable fuel made from plant oils that can be mixed with conventional diesel fuel. Each Jeep Liberty CRD diesel SUV built at the company’s Toledo, Ohio, assembly plant is fueled with B5 (5 percent biodiesel), made from soybeans grown and refined in Ohio.
Beginning this fall, the company will test use of B20 (20 percent biodiesel) in its industry-leading Dodge Ram heavy duty diesel pickup trucks, working initially with commercial, government and military fleet customers.
“Biofuels represent a huge opportunity to reduce our consumption of conventional petroleum-based fuel and our dependence on foreign oil,” LaSorda said.
Other benefits cited by LaSorda are:
* “Reduced lifecycle carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) emissions, because the plants from which the fuels are made absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during growth.”
* “Reduced tailpipe emissions of particulates, carbon monoxide and other pollutants compared with conventional fuels.”
* “A stronger American economy through support of U.S. agriculture.”
For vehicles to operate on ethanol-based fuels, engine computer controls must be adjusted and the fuel system (fuel tank, fuel pump and fuel lines) must be altered to resist the effects of the alcohol (ethanol). Chrysler Group FFVs use a patented sensor system to determine the exact content of the fuel (E85, gasoline or any mixture of the two). The seamless transition of one fuel to another is accomplished by an advanced calibration system that determines the concentration of ethanol in the gasoline and adjusts for greatest operational efficiency.
“Unfortunately, too many of these vehicles have been — or will be — running on pure gasoline due to the lack of a fuel infrastructure,” LaSorda said. “But we know that flex-fuels can work, when industry and government get behind them and encourage infrastructure development.”