DETROIT -- Chrysler and the U.S. Department of Energy are developing an experimental engine that runs on a combination of gasoline and diesel fuel.
The engine, a turbocharged 2.4-liter, aims for a 25 percent increase in fuel economy from that of the base vehicle and engine in the project, a 2009 Chrysler Group minivan with a 4.0-liter V-6 and a six-speed automatic transmission, according to cars.com.
A 2009 Chrysler Town & Country with the V-6 gets 17 mpg city/25 highway.
A 25 percent fuel economy increase would mean 21 city/31 highway.
The experimental engine is expected to have performance similar to the V-6. The V-6 is rated at 251 hp and 259 pounds-feet of torque.
Because gasoline and diesel fuel have different combustion and chemical properties, they have been considered mutually exclusive fuels. Two separate fuel tanks are required.
The bi-fuel engine design has a three-valve head with two direct-injection fuel injectors for gasoline and one diesel injector. The engine has two turbochargers, one high pressure and the other low pressure, to provide two-stage turbocharging.
The vehicle also will demonstrate other fuel-saving technologies, including:
- Engine shut-off during vehicle braking
- Stop-start engine shut-off
- Electricity generation from engine heat
The Department of Energy is contributing $14.5 million to the project. Chrysler, Delphi, Ohio State University and Argonne National Laboratory are providing $15.5 million.
The program runs through April 2013.