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Chrysler's new EcoDiesel logo hints of future clean diesel Jeeps

Chrysler is selling a 3.0 L diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee in Europe "and other diesel markets," but not in the U.S., so a new trademark filing with the USPTO by Chrysler may be good news for American's desiring a diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee.


This week a new trademark registered by Chrysler with the USPTO and WTO, bearing the name EcoDiesel, indicates plans by Chrysler to adopt some form of clean diesel technology. The artwork shown here is part of a USPTO filing, by Chrysler LLC, claiming a trademark for this logo and the EcoDiesel name. It includes a "leaf" on one side, and the "3.0L" mark indicating the trademark is for a 3 liter engine.

The new 3.0 Liter engine is expected to appear in a future Jeep Grand Cherokee, and other models in Chrysler's lineup.

The engine is expected to be the VM Motori 3.0-liter turbo diesel, which is reported to produce around 240 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. That motor was developed through a collaboration between Fiat and the Italian firm VM Motori. A version of this engine is already offered in several Chrysler models overseas, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 300. In April 2011 Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne promised this engine would find its way to the U.S. under the hood of a Jeep Grand Cherokee by the end of 2013. In January 2012, the company announced the hiring of 1100 workers for their Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit to expand the Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup to include a diesel version for North America.

When matched with a five speed automatic transmission, the VM Motori 3.0-liter turbo diesel on a Jeep Grand Cherokee is expected to give a fuel efficiency of around 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. The launch of an EcoDiesel Jeep Grand Cherokee may not take place until the 2014 model year at which time the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission will be available. That transmission should increase the fuel efficiency numbers even higher.

In Feb 2011, Chrysler introduced the Jeep Grand Cherokee with optional 3.0 liter turbo diesel engine, at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, "for Europe and other diesel markets." The U.S. isn't exactly a "diesel market," for what its worth. At the time Chrysler said "the new 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine produces maximum horsepower of 177 kW (241 hp DIN) at 4,000 rpm and torque of 550 N•m (406 lb-ft) at 1,800-2,800 rpm," for a 10 percent power improvement, and 8 percent more torque, than the engine it replaced. Even with the improved power, fuel economy improved by 19% and CO2 emissions dropped by 20%. The engine uses a single Garrett VGT 2056 turbocharger with variable turbine geometry, to provide near-instant response and includes an air-to-air intercooler.

For contrast, the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee, with 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gasoline Engine, delivers 290 horsepower (216 kW) and 260 lb.-ft. (353 N•m) of torque at 4,800 rpm. The 4x2 models have a rating of 17 miles per gallon city, 23 highway (up from 16/23) while 4x4 models achieve 16/23 (up from 16/22). The 3.0 liter turbo diesel engine discussed above would represent a dramatic performance and fuel economy boost over the current gasoline model.

This has to be seen as part of a trend among automakers to use turbochargers, not for high end supercars, but to increase the power to weight ratio, increase fuel efficiency, decrease emissions, all the while maintaining the same power level. An example is the Ford EcoBoost series of engines, as well as the TDI (Turbo Diesel) engines from Audi and Volkswagon. The trend is a response in part to rising gasoline prices, and in part a pre-emptive response to expected tighter emissions and fuel economy regulations from governments around the world.