DETROIT -- Chrysler Group has entered a five-year, $18.2 million research partnership with McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, to develop electric powertrains and components.
Chrysler, which is providing $9.2 million of the funding for the research project, is contributing cash, the efforts of 20 researchers and access to its facilities in Canada and the United States, spokesman Eric Mayne said. The rest is coming from various governmental sources in Canada.
Chrysler currently sells one fully electric vehicle, the Fiat 500e, only in California. It offers no hybrid powertrains commercially although it has had several hybrid fleets in testing.
The automaker also has joined an international consortium in Canada that will study broader use of aluminum and magnesium alloys in automotive production. Both studies were announced this morning in Hamilton.
The three-year, $3.9 million study is being funded primarily by the Canadian government.
Researchers will look at ways to improve the strength and corrosion resistance of both lightweight metals and how to do so within existing casting methods to keep down costs.
The study will be centered at McMaster University in Hamilton but will include researchers at Ryerson University in Toronto and the University of Trento in Italy. Fiat Group's Centro Ricerche Fiat, the r&d arm in Italy, also will participate, Chrysler said.
The SRT Viper includes a structural dashboard made of lightweight magnesium that is the largest single piece of the metal used in any production vehicle. The automaker uses aluminum for the hood of its 2014 Ram 1500 as well as for a large structural support on the Dodge Dart.