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Back in the summer of 2018, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) revealed their plans to go electric and start developing a new lineup of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs). That’s what the large automobile group said, but so far, their plans haven’t come to fruition. Aside from the plug-in hybrid Jeep Renegade at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, we haven’t seen anything. That’s one of the reasons why FCA had to partner up with Tesla to meet strict European CO2 emissions standards. It may take some time, but FCA is slowly setting down a foundation brick-by-brick, and another just got some mortar.
Hybrid Components Pave the Way
A fresh agreement between FCA and ZF eight-speed transmissions states that future FCA models will come equipped with a brand new next-generation hybrid-ready ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Going by the name of “8HP” on the inside, the 8HP will be doing things a little differently. According to ZF, the new fourth-generation of the new eight-speed gearbox is easily adaptable for either a torque converter or electric motor so that the company can meet the various demands of the market.
ZF eight-speed transmission should be a somewhat familiar name. Fiat Chrysler has used it in many of its vehicles, such as the Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and even the Ram 1500 light-duty pickup truck. What makes these new 8HP automatic transmissions for FCA special is that they will be placed in future FCA models with hybrid and electric capabilities. The deal FCA signed with ZF specifies that a "significant share" will be hybrid-ready units equipped with the integrated electric drive unit in place of the torque converter, for rear- and all-wheel-drive models starting in 2022.
This wouldn’t be the first component FCA made some investments on. Remember eTorque? Yeah, eTorque, the mild-hybrid system from FCA. It was released on the next-generation 2018 Jeep Wrangler during its debut at the 2018 LA Auto Show, and again on the next-generation 2019 Ram 1500. When it comes to the 2019 Ram 1500, able to be powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine or a HEMI V8, the eTorque system packs a punch, adding 90 lb-ft of torque in addition to the original output of 269 lb-ft of torque for the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine and an additional 130 lb-ft of torque for a total of 530 lb-ft of torque on the HEMI V8. It’s so good, the Pentastar V6 with eTorque combo landed on the WardsAuto 10 Best Engines List.
Now with their newest partnership, after FCA signed an agreement with ENGIE and Enel X to work on developing better EV charging solutions, the automobile group has another power player to support them in their endeavors to make a more electric-powered lineup. ENGIE is known for its clean energy project with Mitsubishi Motors and Hitachi Europe, an experiment that made use of the ENGIE HQ, a building outfitted with solar energy panels, a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and a bi-directional charger from Hitachi. Together, the three technically recycled solar energy on a small scale. Think of what they could do working with FCA on their electric vehicles.
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