Retro Friday: the Electric Vehicle Company, Maxwell, and Chrysler

1908 Columbia Electric car

In 1896, Henry G. Morris and Pedro G. Salom, makers of the Electrobat taxi cab, formed the Electric Carriage & Wagon Company. Nobody knew that gasoline was the future of the car then: the very first cars, made in the 18th century, had been steamers. Karl Benz made several copies of a single gasoline-burning car in 1885, but then Thomas Edison had opened the world’s first generating station for commercial and residential buyers even earlier—and electricity seemed like it might be the fuel of the future.
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STLA betting big on electrified DCTs

EP6 Peugeot engine for Stellantis STLA Medium 1.6 hybrids

Stellantis is betting big on electrified dual-clutch automatic transmissions (eDCTs) developed by Peugeot and Punch Powertrain. In addition to an American production plant, which will be making the setup for the STLA Medium platform in a few years, Stellantis is retooling the massive Fiat Mirafiori plant in Turin to make the transmissions. The current plan … Read more

Jeep, Midland co-branding walkie-talkies

Midland Jeep radio

Midland Radio, a leader in two-way radio communications, is collaborating with Jeep starting with a new  T77VP5J Jeep X-Talker Extreme Dual Pack. Midland is used by many off-roaders, and has sponsored the Jeep Jamboree. The $135 T77VP5J Jeep X-Talker Extreme Dual Pack is a by-product of Midland’s T71 license-free handheld. It includes up to 38 … Read more

The new Ram force is Lunar

Last week, Ram teased the world about a “new force” coming for May 10. Today, it’s here—but guesses about the news being Hurricane-related were wrong. Instead, there will be new editions of the 2023 Ram 1500 Rebel and TRX—the Ram 1500 Rebel Lunar and Ram TRX Lunar editions, coming in a unique Ceramic Gray color.  Both will be available in limited numbers later this Spring… [Read more…]

Jeep Gladiator is Beating US Competitors but Buyers Want More

2022 Jeep Gladiator

The Jeep Gladiator was introduced for consumers who wanted a Wrangler-based truck, and Jeep provided pretty much exactly what many people had asked for. The Gladiator looks a great deal like the Wrangler inside and out and is almost as off-road-capable as the Wrangler, so it comes as little surprise that the midsized Jeep pickup has sold very well.

However, since the Gladiator came onto the scene, the Wrangler has gotten an array of new options and/or features that are not available for the Jeep pickup. The most reasonable requests focus on offering the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and the 4xe hybrid package from the Wrangler. The 4xe package has helped the Wrangler become the bestselling plug-in hybrid in the U.S. market and, having driven the hybrid Jeep, it seems like a drivetrain that would work nicely in the Gladiator. On the more extreme end of things, more than a few Jeepers with deep pockets would gladly pay big money for a Gladiator Rubicon 392, but so far, we have only seen the incredible V8 package in the Wrangler. [Read more…]

Is there room for Hemi V8s in Mopar’s post-2024 future after all?

Opinion. Back in 2019, I wrote about the “Tornado,” as the turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine then being development was coded. At that point, the GME 2.0 turbo, coded “Hurricane,” was still in planning. The code names were based on warplanes, as were the Eagle, Apache, and so forth—not past Jeep engines. The Willys/Jeep Tornado engine was an inline six-cylinder with an overhead cam, an advanced design which did not last long on the market. The Willys/Jeep Hurricane engine, in contrast, was a four-cylinder, replacing the “Go-Devil” engine, made from 1950 to 1971. (There was also a Jeep Hurricane concept car in 2005 which is unrelated.)  [Read more…]

Could a Ram 1500 Dakota fill in for a midsize pickup? (Updated)

Stellantis has a trademark on the name “Dakota,” and is hard at work on a vehicle that would replace the Ram 1200 (Mitsubishi L1200). Compact and midsize trucks are a hot market in the United States now, with the Tacoma, Ranger, Colorado, and Gladiator all fighting it out—but the Gladiator isn’t a practical high-volume truck for Ram. 

Could the company create a transitional truck to fill in for a midsize, while it waits for its engineers to finish? It might be a bit expensive, and maybe it wouldn’t work; but it would also be a recession-fighting pickup, if times got worse and pricey pickups suddenly lost their buyers. … [more] [Read more…]

STLA had a good quarter, promises new 2023-2024 vehicles

Jeep and Stellantis leaders: Carlos Tavares, Christian Meunier, Jim Morrison

The first quarter of 2023 was good for Stellantis, but not great; while net revenues were up 14% over Q1 2022, with a 7% increase in sales and high net prices, market share fell in North America and Europe. This was somewhat offset by small gains in South America and Africa/Middle East. Globally, low-emissions vehicles sales rose by 25%, driven by the Jeep 4xe series. BEVs were up by 22% year-over-year. [Read more…]

Awaiting STLA profits, we see GM is down and Ford is up

Chevy Corvette E-Ray

GM’s pretax profit in North America rose by 14% in the first quarter, to $3.6 billion, but the company as a whole saw net income drop by 19%, to $2.4 billion. This was largely due to $875 million for employee buyouts; the company also set aside $99 million to buy out those Buick dealers who are leaving rather than supporting electric cars. Like Chrysler, Buick sees itself as all-electric in the future. [Read more…]

Jeep gets a Ward’s Ten Best award for interiors/UX

inside Grand Wagoneer

Ward’s Automotive is one of the older journals covering automotive news. Its Ten Best Engines awards have been eagerly followed each year, and there is usually at least one Mopar engine on it. A newer award is the ten best interiors and user experiences; Stellantis has one winner, a Jeep, which would likely astound a time traveler coming in anywhere from 1941 to 1990. [Read more…]

Dodge Charger Daytona BEV PowerShot Feature Could Be Amazing

Dodge Charger Daytona

When the Dodge Charger Daytona BEV Concept debuted last year, one of the unique features of the upcoming electric muscle car that brand boss Tim Kuniskis discussed was PowerShot. Described as a “push-to-pass” system, this feature “delivers an adrenaline jolt of increased horsepower for a quick burst of acceleration”. In layman’s terms, the electric drive … Read more

Retro Friday: Making pistons, inspecting engines

B engine block department (361-383)

Dave Van Buren sent in these two photos from Trenton Engine’s archives. The first shows final inspection of engine blocks for Department 72 Main, which made the low-deck B-engine blocks—the 361, 383, and later 400. The bore sizes were painted onto the blocks because there were variations in the diameter of both blocks and pistons … Read more

Why Jeep Wranglers caught fire on the Indiana car carrier

A couple of days ago, photos from the Illinois Toll Road’s social media feed made a stir as a car carrier loaded mainly with new Jeeps was clearly on fire. Two Wranglers were most badly burned, and one of them was a 4xe, which could have stirred some anti-EV hate. An inquiry to Stellantis North America media relations yielded no answers. [Read more…]

33,500 buyout offers—how many lost jobs?

Brampton plant workers

Stellantis is asking over 33,500 employees in the US and Canada to take a buyout or early retirement, according to the Detroit News. The breakdown is 31,000 hourly workers and 2,500 salaried ones, though not all of those will be lost jobs: there are numerous workers on indefinite layoff at the moment, and the actual … Read more