Ongoing innovation of gasoline engines
First came the MultiAir, then came the turbo and downsizing, taken to the extreme with the TwinAir. In the past few years, the gasoline engine has taken big steps forward, and with the grams of CO2
emitted by the twin engine, today it is already ready for the 2020 challenge—at least for that which concerns vehicles in the small and medium segment. FCA researchers are already working on its successor, the Fire MultiAir, which will make combustion even more efficient using new modes of control. And in the area of powerful engines, the Group synergy has given birth to a new engine that seems—thanks to MulitAir, turbo, direct injection and construction that allows management of layered combustion—it will become best-in-class for its technology.
Upcoming challenges for diesel
As for diesel, the challenge for 2020—and earlier still for the Euro 6 standard—is to be able to lower nitric oxides without bearing too much on costs or upping consumption. This is all but easy, even if post-treatment technology like the NSC or the SCR is constantly improving. To clean out chemical filters that trap nitric oxides, it is in fact necessary to bring them to very high temperatures, and this inevitably means an increase in the consumption of the combustible. To offset this effect, it is necessary to cut somewhere else; researchers are working on engine friction, combustion and fuel booster, as well as recirculation of the exhaust. After all, it's not a sole technology that makes for excellence, but the proper function of all of them together.
Natural gas, a real alternative
FCA's research spans all across the world of combustibles and energy, constantly on the lookout for valid alternatives to traditional fuels. State-of-the-art, the most solid solution is natural gas. In fact, this natural gas emits 23 times less CO2 from the exhaust pipe than gasoline. It is the most common combustible in the world, with a nearly infinite supply. Once extracted, it need not be refined, and tank trucks, which also pollute, are not needed to transport it. Not only is it the cheapest fuel, but it can be obtained from the sewage from breeding establishments or garbage, therefore it does not weigh on the energy balance. Lastly, the automotive technology that FCA has developed in this field over the last 15 years to the point of becoming a leader in Europe, does not penalize the performance or limit the amount of space in the car.
Experimentation in the field of hybrid technology: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle
During 2012, as part of a program funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), FCA deployed 109 Ram 1500 pickups and 23 Chrysler Minivan Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) to 16 partners across the United States.