What Do Jeep, Ram, And The Toyota Prius All Have In Common?

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Hint - it's something to do with engines.

If we told you that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sold more of a certain type of engine than any other automaker, you'd probably guess V8s, right? The company sells tons of V8 engines across its lineup including a trio of supercharged models (the Hellcats and Trackhawk). Well, it might surprise you to hear that FCA actually dominated in mild-hybrid sales.

In fact, FCA "leads the US market" in mild-hybrid sales "and by a wide margin," says Wards Intelligence analyst Bob Gritzinger. FCA delivered 105,676 vehicles with 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain technology while the next closest competitor sold less than one-third as many with 33,116.

2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rear Angle View Jeep
Jeep
Jeep

For those who don't know, a mild-hybrid is different than the plug-in hybrids announced by Jeep at CES. FCA's eTorque technology uses a belt-driven motor-generator instead of an alternator, which is powered by a 48-volt battery back. The eTorque system can deliver up to 90 lb-ft of torque, stop and restart the engine, or recapture energy from the brakes like a conventional hybrid. Customers can currently find this technology on the 2020 Ram 1500 (with the 3.6-liter V6 or optional on the 5.7-liter V8) and the 2020 Jeep Wrangler (with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder or 3.6-liter V6).

Mild-hybrid systems yield improvements in towing capacity, payload, and fuel economy. They also have a radical impact on improving stop-start systems. FCA says supplemental torque arrives at the wheels in 400 milliseconds, which is nearly twice as fast as a conventional stop-start system with starter-motor actuation.

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It isn't shocking to hear that FCA is the leading seller of mild-hybrid systems, seeing as it comes standard on all V6-powered Ram 1500 trucks and on the popular Wrangler. There are other automakers that have embraced 48-volt technology, but many of them - including Audi, Land Rover, and Mercedes-Benz - exist in the luxury space and therefore sell a lower volume of cars.

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2019-2020 Ram 1500 Front View Ram
2019-2020 Ram 1500 Rear Angle View Ram

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