Just earlier this month, the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles tentative union agreement unveiled some of the new products the Italian-American automaker is planning. These included a new three-row Jeep model, a PHEV Grand Cherokee, and a Ram 1500 TRX scheduled for 2020. The agreement also briefly mentioned upgrades for the Dodge Durango built at the Jefferson Assembly Plant, and now we have a little more to share regarding the future of the SUV.
According to MoparInsider, a mild hybrid Durango will arrive at Dodge’s dealers sometime next year. Logic tells us either the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or 5.7-liter HEMI V8 will be offered, since both the engines now have eTorque electrified versions in the Ram 1500. In fact, FCA could decide to further diversify the Durango’s range by offering both powertrains.
Our source believes adapting both motors for the Durango should be a relatively easy task for FCA engineers, since the Durango has an RWD platform, just like the Ram 1500, which already has the mild-hybrid 3.6 and 5.7 units. The company’s hybrid eTorque powertrain relies on a Motor Generator Unit (MGU) that replaces the alternator, connected to the crankshaft with a large drive belt. There’s also a 48-volt battery pack “the size of a suitcase” with the result of the system being lower CO2 emissions, better EPA ratings, and improved acceleration from a standstill.
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FCA’s route towards electrification will continue with plug-in hybrid variants of the Wrangler in 2020, plus the Grand Cherokee, Wagoneer, and Grand Wagoneer in 2021. The biggest, $3-billion investment from the automaker in the next few years will go to the Jefferson Assembly Plant, and include potentially increasing the workforce there by 1,100 people. That’s the site that is responsible for the assembly of the Durango and will also produce the mild-hybrid version of the SUV.