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Chrysler Researches Engineering That Could Increase Fuel Efficiency

June 18, 2002

Chrysler Group researchers are using a series of small steps in engineering to produce an increase in fuel efficiency in the not-too-distant future. With a series of engineering changes to Chrysler's standard gasoline-powered, 4.7-liter V-8 engine, researchers have produced an engine with 14 percent better fuel efficiency. The cost of those changes: less than $200 per engine. The project has been nicknamed the MAGIC engine, which stands for Multiple Approaches to Great Internal Combustion. The improvement in fuel efficiency was achieved with no sacrifice in emissions, power, cost, weight, engine life or other engine characteristics such as noise, vibration or harshness. Eight different design and engineering changes were made to the standard engine. As a next step, Chrysler engineers packaged the MAGIC engine into a Dodge Durango SUV with several additional design changes to enhance fuel efficiency. That vehicle, project Apollo, achieves an overall improvement in fuel efficiency of 25 percent. Total additional costs for project Apollo are only about $700 per vehicle. One area of improvement is increased compression ratio (4 percent) - resulting in greater efficiency and lower emissions — through:  Intake port air-gap thermal barrier. Chrysler Group has applied for a patent for this feature.  On-demand piston oil-squirters.  Precision cooling system. For fuel efficiency improvements in the Dodge Durango SUV fuel efficiency demonstration vehicle, the Apollo project includes the following enhancements:  A 12V alternator/restarter to allow transparent shutdown and restarting of a warm engine in stop/start traffic conditions (4 percent).  Improved cooling technologies, including electronic thermostat, electric water pump, transmission temperature management and multi-mode temperature strategy (5 percent).  Improved undercarriage aerodynamics (belly pans and air dams) and grille shutters resulting in reduced drag (1.2 percent).  Electro-hydraulic power steering (1 percent).
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Charles Bowen has been retired from the transportation industry since Sept. 15, 2011.

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