Chrysler said it has begun rolling off its new hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) assembly line in Newark, Delaware, in time for the introduction of the company’s new 2009 Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid and 2009 Chrysler Aspen HEMI Hybrid.The company said the two full-size 4×4 sport-utility HEVs are nearly $8,000 below the competition. Dodge Durango’s suggested retail price is $45, 340 and the Chrysler Aspen is $45, 570. Buyers are also expected to receive an estimated tax credit of $1,800.With some of the 2008 SUVs and heavier cars currently being sold at 40% off and gas price slowly going down, I wonder if hybrid vehicles remain competitive at these prices? I guess if you’re not really driving your car that much or that far, maybe it is still cheaper to buy the traditional models?Here’s how Chrysler’s HEV works:
In the first mode — at low speed and with light loads — the vehicle can operate in three ways:– Electric power only — Engine power only — Any combination of engine and electric powerThe two-mode hybrid provides all of the fuel-saving benefits of a full-hybrid system, including electric-only operation. In this mode, the engine is “shut off,” with the vehicle moving under electric-only power at low speed, resulting in reduction of fuel consumption in heavy stop-and-go traffic.The second mode is used primarily at highway speeds. In addition to electric assist, the second mode provides full power from engine when conditions demand it, such as when passing, pulling a trailer or climbing a steep grade.