ESX Mild-Hybrid
The biggest stumbling block to hybrid-electric development is their cost. Now Chrysler engineers believe they've found a way to build a profitable HEV but the commitment will cost more than $1 billion and no one's sure consumers will buy these cars.

ESX 3 Cuts HEV Premium In Half

DaimlerChrysler finds way to make hybrid-electric almost profitable

By Bill Moore

25 February 2000 -- DaimlerChrysler's engineers might have missed unveiling their third iteration of the ESX Mybrid (mild-hybrid) concept car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this year but it appears the delay was definitely worth the wait.

Last week the company showed the ESX3 to the press in Washington, D.C., an event which marks the achievement of the first official milestone of the 10 year-long USPartnership for a New Generation Vehicle program in which all three US car makers have now developed fuel-efficient, high mileage vehicles.

From the outset of the ESX program, DaimlerChrysler engineers have sought ways to not only achieve the performance goals of PNGV but have striven to reduce the cost premium associated with hybrid electric technology. In the ESX3 they have cut the cost in half from the $15,000 of the ESX2 to just $7,500 in two years time.

The five passenger ESX3 achieves 72 mpg, up two miles from the more aerodynamic ESX2. It's "mild-hybrid" or mybrid drive train takes a similar approach to that of both Ford and GM PNGV cars, mating a 1.5 liter, all aluminum direct-injection diesel engine to a 15 kilowatt electric motor. Like the Toyota Prius, the 106 pound lithium ion battery pack is wedged between the rear passenger seat and trunk which provides 16 cubic fee (450 liters) of cargo space.

An important component in of the ESX Mybrid system is its EMAT transmission system which utilizes two computer-controlled clutches. The EMAT system combines the smoothness of an automatic transmission with the added fuel efficiency of a manual. The driver sees the normal selection of park, drive, neutral and reverse.

One of the most remarkable features of the ESX3 Mybrid drive is its weight which is less than a conventional gasoline engine. The three-cylinder diesel weighs just 250 pounds (113kg) and the air-colored electric motor just 76 pounds (33kg).

DaimlerChrysler says that the ESX3 meets all the emissions targets originally set in 1993. However, it acknowledges that there is still much to be done to meet future emissions standards including further work on low sulfur and synthetic fuels, new exhaust aftertreatment technologies and cleaner combustion processes.

Times Article Viewed: 5451
Published: 01-Jan-2000


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