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Hemi goes hybrid as Daimler drops Chrysler

Hemi goes hybrid as Daimler drops Chrysler.

Goodbye DCX, hello DC motor CNET Networks

It's all change at DaimlerChrysler. As Chrysler Group contemplates its buyout at the hands of Cerberus Capital Management, one of its signature engines is about to get a green makeover. The 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, the motivation behind some of Chrysler's most thirsty trucks and SUVs, is going hybrid thanks to the addition of two electric motors. The resultant Hemi hybrid engine will be offered in the 2008 models of the Chrysler Aspen and the Dodge Durango, making the vehicles into 2-mode hybrids similar to the 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid and the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid--both due out later this year.

The Hemi is already offered with multi-displacement technology--an engine-management system that switches the car to run on only four cylinder rather than eight when engine demand is low. The new hybrid version of the Hemi V-8 will get 40 percent better gas mileage in the city and 25 percent better mileage on the freeway, according to Chrysler.

German automaker DaimlerChrysler AG, which today confirmed its divestiture of Chrysler, and which is expected to rename itself Daimler AG, said it will continue to jointly develop two-mode hybrids (such as the Hemi hybrid) with its ex-partner, as well as other alternative fuel technologies such as clean diesel and hydrogen fuel cells.