Sergio Marchionne, the head of the Chrysler Group and Fiat Motors, has never been a fan of hybrid electric or pure electric vehicles.
But in a recent interview with autonews.com, the boss of both car firms said that the only way Chrysler will reach fuel economy goals set in place by the Obama administration would be to develop hybrid drivetrains.
Marchionne confirmed that the Chrysler 300 Hybrid would be the first of Chrysler’s hybrid cars, but that more would be needed in order to bring the brand’s average fuel economy up to acceptable levels.
Ironically, while Chrysler is seemingly struggling with increasing the gas mileage of its fleet, partner company Fiat is has already made an impressively good car in the form of its diminutive Fiat 500 Twin-Air. Rated in Europe on the combined cycle at an astonishingly good 56 mpg, the tiny 0.8 liter four-seat runabout is the antithesis of many of Chrysler’s U.S. offerings.
2012 Fiat 500 2-door HB Lounge Angular Rear Exterior View
The problem? The same technology Fiat uses in the tiny Fiat 500 isn’t going to work in large cars like the Chrysler 300.
The move towards Hybrid vehicles in the Chrysler group fleet comes at the same time as its announcement that the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee -- and several other large Chrysler vehicles -- would soon come with diesel engine options to help improve the fleet’s average fuel economy.
When will we see hybrid Chryslers? There’s no official date beyond the 2013 Chrysler 300 Hybrid, but like its diesel technology expect to see it being offered as a drivetrain option on Chrysler’s larger vehicles in coming years.