The Hellcat Twins could get even more power from composite superchargers

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat are two of the most powerful cars in the world, but with composite material projects going on in the supercharger world, the Hellcat twins could get more power from the same basic setup.

Hellcat-Engine-Web

The current supercharger is an impressive design from IHI Turbo,  which is responsible for the design and production of the supercharger, integrated intake manifold, and the heat exchangers built into the housing.  Developments in the supercharger industry could lead to future relatives of the Hellcat Hemi generating even more power with the same basic design.

The “problem” with all supercharger designs is that they are belt driven off of the crankshaft, so the amount of force needed to spin the supercharger eats some of the power created by the engine.  In the case of the 6.2L Hellcat Hemi, the engine makes an official figure of 707 horsepower, but the IHI supercharger unit absorbs roughly 80 horsepower (at peak) to create the boost.  If the supercharger took less effort to spin and create boost, more net power would be created.

One way to improve the efficiency of a supercharger like the one in the Hellcat Charger and Challenger is to lighten up the internal moving components, which would then use less force to spin.  The rotors are already made of lightweight alloys, but advancements in both carbon fiber and plastic composites could allow supercharger companies to build the rotors out of even lighter weight materials.

There have been rumors about Chrysler working with composite superchargers, and while there is no proof of Chrysler-specific applications, there are major players in the forced induction aftermarket who are working on something along these lines – and Eaton has applied for a patent on a supercharger housing using lightweight composites for the central rotors.

According to a patent filing made by Eaton back in 2013 that was published mid-2014, the company is working to replace the metal rotors with molded or laid composites that could include both high tech plastics and carbon fiber composites.  A composite material that will hold up to the heat and stress that the rotors of a supercharger face during every second of operation would be a huge breakthrough in the industry…but how does this affect Chrysler, since they use an IHI supercharger design?

When the Hellcat Hemi was in its earliest design stages, the folks responsible for creating this monster engine considered designs from a variety of companies.  While IHI is the company providing Chrysler with blowers right now, a big breakthrough by Eaton or some other manufacturer could lead the automaker to switch supplies.

A breakthrough by one manufacturer will also likely lead to similar new products from other manufacturers, through patent licensing, so should Eaton roll out a supercharger with a composite rotor design, it would only be a matter of time before the competition offered up something similar.  IHI could be the company to create a composite supercharger to rival Eaton, provided that Chrysler didn’t just jump at the first option that would help put more power to the ground in the most powerful American performance cars on the road.

Finally, in addition to creating superchargers with lighter rotors that would “eat” less engine power, there is also the possibility that Eaton, IHI, or some other company (including Chrysler internally) could come up with a supercharger that uses plastic or carbon fiber composites for other parts of the unit.  For instance, using lightweight composites for portions of the case, the cooling system, or the manifold wouldn’t help make the supercharger more efficient, but it would cut the overall weight of the car.  In the case of the 4,500 pound Hellcat Charger or Challenger, every pound shaved — particularly up front — will improve the overall performance of the car.

Ram ProMaster vs For Transit in snowAfter snow flooded large swaths of the nation, Ram showed off the prowess of its front wheel drive ProMaster in a short new commercial, showing the van racing a Ford Transit up a hill in Houghton, Michigan.

It did not take long before the Transit got stuck on the mild 20% grade, in fairly shallow snow.

A Ram spokesman wrote the video was filmed while the vans were empty, but that they had the same results when the vans were loaded up to half their payload capacity.

Both vans are relatively new to the US, but are based on established European designs. ProMaster has front wheel drive and a slightly wider interior; unlike the Fiat Ducato, it has a Chrysler powertrain, along with many suspension modifications for greater durability and capacity. A Fiat diesel and transmission have just become available.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will air three commercials during this Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX broadcast. The first spot will be the first commercial following the second quarter’s “two-minute warning” break; the second and the third commercials are scheduled to run in breaks during the third quarter. So far, the company has not released any information about the content, but some of the ads in past years have been pivotal for Chrysler while others have … not.

The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is the most powerful sedan in the world, with 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. Even though it is a big, heavy 4-door sedan, its slippery form allows this beast to go over 200 miles per hour, with an official top speed of 204 miles per hour.

Some people have questioned the validity of this claim, so Dodge has rolled out a video explaining – and showing – the process behind getting an official top speed of 204 miles per hour.

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There is a certain process to obtaining a proper top speed figure, and this new Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat video explains how that process works. In short, the team making the attempt needs to account for the effects of any wind – both positive and negative.

To do this, the top speed run is made on the same track in each direction so the Charger would make one with the wind helping the run and a second with the wind slowing the car down. This is the industry standard for top speed runs and this is the process required by the Guinness Book of World Records.

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The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat was taken onto a 7.5 oval test track early on a July morning when the temperature was around 60 degrees. This track has dual 2 mile straightaways and towards the end of each straightaway is a guy with a radar gun to record the top speed reached before slowing for the turn.

On the first run, the Hellcat Charger had a tail wind that was fluctuating between 8 and 14 miles per hour and the top speed in the straightaways was 206.9 miles per hour. On the second run, the 707hp Charger was “only” able to hit 202.2 miles per hour. When you average out those two numbers, you get an officially recognized top speed of 204.55 miles per hour – making the Hellcat Charger the fastest 4-door sedan in the world.

charger hellcat top speed

According to the 2014 figures released with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ full-year financials, Chrysler brands (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram) were major players in helping FCA deliver on its promises to analysts.

Worldwide deliveries in the fourth quarter came to 1,215,000 cars and trucks, 44,000 more than in the same period of 2013. Full-year deliveries came to 4,608,000 vehicles, beating 2013 by 256,000. The full-year figure is below the 4.7 million vehicles FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne mentioned to Automotive News publisher Keith Crain in a recent interview, but it is in line with prior company projections.

Jeep-Cherokee-Globe-Web

The four Chrysler brands accounted for 58.6% of total worldwide deliveries.

Jeep made up 22.1% of the total — and, all by itself, accounted for 78.9% of the 256,000 additional vehicles delivered by FCA last year. In Wednesday’s presentation, Marchionne said Jeep was one of the brands he expected to keep the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region in the black for all four quarters of 2015. Robust sales of the new Renegade should keep Jeep’s numbers growing in the region.

Dodge took a 16.2% piece of the worldwide pie; while Ram sales, which were almost entirely in North America, making up 12.7% of worldwide deliveries. The Chrysler brand contributed 7.6% to the total. Dodge and Ram — both North America-dominated brands — together were responsible for 28.9% of FCA’s total sales.

The 303,190 additional U.S.-market Jeep and Ram sales, compared with 2013, were enough to cover all of the additional 256,000 FCA worldwide deliveries, with room to spare.

FCA met its full-year guidance for 2014, surprising financial analysts who were expecting a miss.

The company posted an operating profit, adjusted for unusual items, of $4.12 billion on revenues of $108.4 billion. The results were at the low end of FCA’s guidance range of $4.08-$4.5 billion. Analysts were expecting an operating profit of $3.8 billion.

Strong results in North America and the EMEA region overcame continuing weakness in the Latin American region.

For this year, FCA forecast operating profit, excluding unusual items, of between $4.6-$5.0 billion with revenues of $121.8 billion. Worldwide shipments are predicted to grow to around 4.8-5.0 million vehicles.

The chart below shows FCA’s results converted to current U.S. dollars.

FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES Q4 AND FULL-YEAR HIGHLIGHTS
4th Quarter Full Year
2014 2013 Change 2014 2013 Change
1,215,000 1,171,000 44,000 Total Shipments 4,608,000 4,352,000 256,000
All figures below, except EPS, in millions of dollars
$30,564 $27,019 $3,545 Net Revenues $108,437 $97,754 $10,682
$1,203 $519 $684 EBIT* $3,637 $3,388 $249
$1,215 $1,064 $151 Adjusted EBIT* $4,120 $3,973 $147
$2,668 $1,920 $748 EBITDA $9,163 $8,618 $545
$597 -$84 $680 Profit Before Taxes $1,327 $1,145 $182
$474 $1,463 -$989 Net Profit $713 $2,202 -$1,488
$0.371 $0.798 - EPS basic $0.525 $0.840 -
$8,637 $12,833 -$3,277 Net Industrial Debt $8,637 $7,915 $722
$29,590 $24,535 $3,948  Available Liquidity $29,590 $25,668 $3,923
Data Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. Currency conversion at 1.12849 dollars per euro

 * EBIT is earnings before interest and taxes. Adjusted EBIT takes out “unusual expenses,” notably buying the UAW share of Chrysler ($560 million), and devaluation of Venezuelan currency ($110 million).

For additional Allpar coverage and analysis of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ financial results, see FCA leans on Chrysler for profits.

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