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DaimlerChrysler Dodge ESX3 Hybrid

After working on the ESX Hybrid concept car series for several years, DaimlerChrysler unveiled a light 5-passenger car steeped in high technology, as its car of the future. The plastic body, sparse aluminum frame, and ultra efficient design were not the real attraction; its magnetic electric motor/generator engine was.

The Dodge ESX3 Hybrid concept car was the fourth iteration of a hybrid car line, and the first to be ready for introduction to the public as a private passenger car.

The Dodge ESX3 Hybrid has a 1.5 liter direct-injection 3-cylinder diesel engine for primary propulsion with a backup 20 horsepower magnet electric motor/generator with a lithium-ion battery as a secondary means of power. It uses one of the most innovative new technologies to recharge the battery during braking, and then the battery is used to run all the non-propulsive systems in the car. The manual transmission is also electric, and unlike earlier manual transmissions has seamless, quiet shifting just like a full automatic car: you have the fuel efficiency of the manual, with the comfort of the automatic.


Pictured is the Dodge ESX3 Hybrid Concept Car.



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Other features of the car are equally fuel-efficient. For instance, the seats in the car are climate controlled to heat or cool passengers and driver, instead of an air conditioner or electric blower for a heater for climate control. And, the lightweight car is designed to pass all the government's crash tests.

The Dodge ESX3 Hybrid was developed in response to a challenge issued by the U.S. government to create a highly fuel-efficient car that is also cost effective. The first ESX concept car didn't address much of this challenge at all, being moderately fuel-efficient but with a cost penalty (the increase in what you would normally pay the dealer) of about $60,000 - far out of the reach of most families. The ESX3, on the other hand, has only a $7,500 cost penalty if it is mass produced, which is an MSRP of about $28,500. Suddenly, it's not so expensive to be green.

The peak fuel efficiency of the Dodge ESX3 Hybrid is about 72 miles to the gallon, with extremely low emissions due to the highly efficient diesel engine.

Elements of the ESX3 Hybrid have been incorporated into several other Chrysler vehicles, including the Jeep and the Dodge Durango. With the recent tremendous increases in the cost of gasoline, there's no doubt that hybrid technologies will rapidly grow in popularity and Chrysler-Dodge may rethink bringing the ESX3 to market or at least create some variation thereof in order to compete with the other hybrid automakers who are currently doing well in this growing field.