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FCA: innovating mobility

14th September 2016
Sponsored feature

FCA: innovating mobility

By Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Effective, long-lasting results to address climate change can best be achieved through the combined efforts of government, energy producers, manufacturers, consumers, academia and the financial community. FCA has long recognised and embraced its own role in addressing the effects of climate change. We strive to reduce the CO2 emissions of our products and processes along the entire value chain, starting from the design phase, and throughout production, distribution, use and end-of-life.

FCA’s approach to providing mobility solutions strives to minimise the impact on people and the environment, by focusing on:

  • improving the fuel efficiency of vehicle and powertrain technologies, both conventional and alternative;
  • directly involving drivers in reducing environmental impacts of vehicles during use;
  • developing and promoting new concepts that improve the mobility experience.

To achieve this, at FCA we foster innovation by encouraging creativity among our workforce, as well as through collaboration with external organisations such as universities, research centres and other institutions.

During 2015 alone, FCA invested approximately €4.1 billion in research and development (R&D), and leveraged the innovations generated by the more than 20,000 FCA employees involved in R&D around the world.

These innovations include a number of projects that address the rapid change occurring in the electric and hybrid-electric vehicle field as well as customer expectations with respect to technology content and affordability of innovation on board. Recent FCA initiatives related to energy storage technologies contributed to the timely launch of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, available in the second half of 2016.

The Pacifica Hybrid is the auto industry’s first electrified minivan and is expected to achieve an estimated range of 30 miles on electric power from a 16-kWh lithium-ion (Liion) battery. In city driving, it is expected to achieve an efficiency rating of 80 MPGe based on US Environmental Protection Agency standards. The Pacifica also incorporates a host of other technologies that optimise energy demand, including aerodynamic efficiency, reduced weight, minimised tyre rolling resistance, Engine Stop-Start system and thermal control technologies.

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid will bring an affordable family-oriented vehicle to the market with balanced attributes such as fuel efficiency, performance and transportation versatility.

In addition to electric, hybrid and conventional technology, FCA invests heavily in natural gas and biofuel solutions that are aligned with the fuels available in the various markets, and that reduce vehicle emissions. FCA has been Europe’s leading producer of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) natural gas vehicles for more than 15 years and offers a wide range of eco-friendly, bi-fuel (natural gas/gasoline) vehicles that meet the needs of private and commercial consumers.

In 2015, FCA’s European leadership was reconfirmed, with more than 44,000 natural gas vehicles registered, representing a share of about 50 per cent. In the last two decades, FCA has sold more than 690,000 natural-gas-powered cars and commercial vehicles.

In Brazil, FCA has a full range of Flexfuel vehicles that run on varying blends of gasoline and bioethanol. FCA’s innovation in this field is exemplified by the TetraFuel engine, the first in the world capable of running on four different fuels: bioethanol, Brazilian gasoline (refined crude oil and 22% anhydrous ethanol), gasoline and natural gas.

As consumer expectations of mobility scenarios evolve, FCA devotes resources to research, development and experimentation of innovative technologies, including autonomous-vehicle technology.

In May 2016, FCA announced a collaboration with the Google Self-Driving Car Project to integrate Google’s self-driving technology into the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to expand Google’s existing self-driving test programme. This marks the first time that Google has worked directly with an automaker to integrate its self-driving system, including its sensors and software, into a passenger vehicle.

Self-driving cars have the potential to save lives and prevent accidents on the road, of which a significant portion are caused by human error. This collaboration will help FCA and Google better understand what it will take to bring self-driving cars into the world.