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DaimlerChrysler's Commitment to Alt-Fuel Vehicles Contines to Grow

October 2006, by Cheryl Knight - Also by this author

Since introducing its first E-85 flexible-fuel vehicle (FFV) to the world in 1998, DaimlerChrysler has remained at the forefront of the alternative-fuel vehicle marketplace.

From that first E-85 minivan in 1998 to more than 15 alternative-fuel models today, DaimlerChrysler’s dedication to helping fleets meet alt-fuel mandates is as strong as ever. To date, DaimlerChrysler has sold approximately 1.5 million FFVs capable of running on E-85 (85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline), gasoline, or any mixture of the two fuels.

This represents about 10 percent of the manufacturer’s total vehicle sales over the past several years, a higher percentage than any other automaker, according to a DaimlerChrysler spokesperson.

DaimlerChrysler Caters to the Fleet Market
For the past two years, DaimlerChrysler’s FFVs have been available to fleet sales, when previously, its FFVs were available to both fleet and retail customers.

In addition to a strong FFV presence in the marketplace, DaimlerChrysler was also one of the first manufacturers to endorse the use of biodiesel in its diesel-powered vehicles, including the Jeep Liberty CRD and Dodge Ram diesel. This fall, the manufacturer will begin testing B-20 (20-percent biodiesel and 80-percent conventional No. 2 diesel) in the Dodge Ram diesel with its fleet customers.

According to DaimlerChrysler, the E-85 and biodiesel markets are strongest in the Midwest where feedstock crops are grown and the fuels can be refined and distributed most efficiently.

Alt-Fuel Marketplace Continues to Evolve
In recent years, DaimlerChrysler’s fleet customers have been interested in FFVs to meet the Federal Energy Policy Act’s clean vehicle requirements. And, even more recently, world events — including the increased price of conventional gasoline and military conflicts — have led some consumers to look for ways to reduce their reliance on petroleum for transportation needs.

“We anticipate that American consumersinterested in performance, value, and environmental benefits in their vehicles will be attracted to modern clean diesel vehicles,” said one Daimler-Chrysler spokesperson. “We expect this market to grow in the coming years, including fleet customers.”

In fact, DaimlerChrysler envisions renewable fuels as a critical element in a portfolio of alternative technologies that will contribute to a cleaner environment, a stronger economy, and a more secure nation in the future. The manufacturer cites several crucial benefits of renewable fuels that will help achieve these goals, including:

  • Reducing America’s dependence on oil.
  • Supporting the American agricultural economy.
  • Reducing tailpipe emissions.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

  • DaimlerChrysler Alt-Fuel Lineup Provides Fleets With Choices
    Renewable fuels will be among the choices that DaimlerChrysler will offer consumers and fleets interested in cleaner vehicles, including:

  • Zero-emission, all-electric GEM vehicles.
  • Improved ICE engines, such as the HEMI with fuel-saving Multiple Displacement System, and modern, clean diesel engines.
  • Hybrids, beginning with the Dodge Durango hybrid in 2008.
  • Commercial vehicles, such as the Orion VII diesel electric hybrid bus in use in New York and other U.S. cities.
  • Fuel-cell vehicles — Daimler-Chrysler has more than 100 fuel-cell vehicles in use around the world.
    DaimlerChrysler Focuses on Emission-Control Technologies
    A major focus of research at DaimlerChrysler is the development of emissioncontroltechnologies to enable diesel passenger vehicles to meet emission regulations in all 50 states. The manufacturer has developed a portfolio of emission controls for diesel vehicles, called BlueTec, that will enable its diesel vehicles to meet the most stringent clean-air standards in the world. These technologies are already in use in DaimlerChrysler’s commercial vehicles.

  • “We will begin to install Blue Tec technology in the Mercedes-Benz E-320 sedan this year,” said a company spokesperson.

    DaimlerChrysler is also collaborating with auto industry, energy and supplier companies, research organizations, and customers to research better ways to produce biodiesel and develop a national quality standard for B-20.

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