FIGURE 4-3 The DaimlerChrysler ESX3 concept vehicle. Source: DaimlerChrysler Corporation and USCAR.

to supply a DC brushless, permanent-magnet motor instead of a three-phase induction machine. Its six-speed manual transmission has two clutches to smooth shift transitions.

The most innovative feature of the DaimlerChrysler ESX3 is its large injection-molded plastic body sections, which presents the possibility of building a body structure that is simultaneously both lighter in weight and lower in cost than a conventional steel body and fully recyclable. The curb weight of the ESX3, 2,250 lbs (1,021 kg), is lower than the curb weights of the other two concept vehicles(Prodigy: 2,385 lbs (1,083 kg); Precept: 2,590 lbs (1,176 kg). The aluminum body construction used by both the Ford Prodigy and the GM Precept cars is currently significantly higher in cost than a comparable steel body. DaimlerChrysler estimates that the ESX3 could have a $7,500 price premium (Robinson, 2000). The other companies did not provide price estimates.

DaimlerChrysler is pursuing hybrid electric propulsion technology using a CIDI engine in much the same way as the other two manufacturers. Nevertheless, even before the merger with Chrysler, Daimler had shown great interest in fuel cells and had demonstrated an A-class hydrogen-powered fuel-cell car that stores hydrogen as a liquid.

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