By Patrick Rall
Dodge was a bit late to announce their intentions of
entering the electronic vehicle race, but in the meantime, efforts have been
made to allow the current offerings to be more fuel efficient. Their Multiple Displacement System (MDS)
equipped Hemi engines have made great steps in offering 4-cylinder like economy
on the highway but not compromising the 350+ horsepower.
Ford and General Motors have taken a different approach,
with Ford introducing its EcoBoost and GM announcing that the new Chevy Cruze
will offer a similar setup, both featuring a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Turbocharging
setups have previously been used on smaller engines to offer more power, from a
performance standpoint, but these new engines use very small displacement and
the turbocharger allows these smaller engines to make similar power to larger
engines, but getting better fuel economy.
These turbocharger direct injection engines could stand to make a big
impact on the market, but why hasn’t Chrysler thrown their hat into the ring?
Ford Motor Company hasn’t done much with turbochargers previously, and
GM has started using them in performance applications such as the Cobalt and
Sky, but Dodge hasn’t released anything yet.
Considering the long history of performance oriented Dodges, from the
Omni GLHS to the Neon SRT-4, you would think that their experience with
performance applications utilizing similar technology would only make sense. We
know that Chrysler has access to a wide variety of engines as part of their
GEMA partnership, and there are already a handful of turbocharged “world
engines”, so perhaps we can hope that Chrysler will follow the lead of FMC and
GM and release their own variants of small displacement, turbocharged
engines. It would be great for the
company to offer more powerful, fuel efficient engines, but from the
performance aspect, anything with a turbocharger has potential for
modification, so we could see a whole new market of forced induction models
with performance aftermarket potential.