Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Dodge Intrepid is a large 4-door full-size front-wheel-drive sedan. It is mechanically related to the Chrysler Concorde and the Eagle Vision sedans. The Intrepid and Concorde are collectively designated the "LH" series, after Chrysler's code name for the platform on which both cars were originally designed.
The Intrepid and Concorde have a cab-foward design: that is, the wheels are pushed out to the end of the car to create more space.
There were two generations of the Intrepid: the first from 1993–1997, which also shared its platform with the discontinued Eagle Vision, and the second generation introduced in 1998, which ended production in early 2004. The LH platform was dropped for the 2005 model year for the rear-wheel drive LX series, which includes the Dodge Magnum station wagon, the Chrysler 300 sedan, and a revival of the Dodge Charger sedan (which will fill the sedan void left by the Intrepid). These vehicles will be available with both V6 and V8 engines, while the LH vehicles were only available with V6 engines.
In the late 1990s, Chrysler used the Intrepid as a research platform for a hybrid electric vehicle in a diesel-electric configuration. Three variations were built, the Intrepid ESX, ESX2, and ESX3. The first vehicle was built in a series hybrid configuration, while the next two were considered “mybrids” or mild hybrids. These were attempted in the time frame of 1997 to 1998.
The ESX design team set a high goal of making the vehicle capable of sipping gasoline at 80 miles per gallon, but the eventual vehicle only achieved an estimated 55 mpg. That's still impressive for such a vehicle. However, the car used a number of exotic materials, which made the cost excessive if it were ever to go into full-scale production. It was estimated that the car would cost $80,000, or roughly $60,000 more than a regular Intrepid. This used lead-acid batteries.
The ESX2 team set a somewhat more modest goal of 70 mpg. The vehicle was made much lighter than normal by using an aluminum frame and carbon fiber composite material. This version only cost around $37,000, or about $15,000 more than a standard Intrepid. This version used nickel metal hydride batteries.
The third vehicle, the ESX3, had a target mileage of 72mpg. It used less expensive materials, such as injection-molded thermoplastic instead of carbon fiber. The estimated cost was only about $7,500 more than a standard vehicle, which would give a total somewhere around $30,000. The ESX3 used lithium ion batteries.
It is unclear if the research teams really achieved these goals. Common Sense Not Required , a book by Evan Boberg , indicates that these vehicles did not attain these levels of efficiency.
- Chrysler Hybrid-Electric Cars of the 1990s: Dodge Intrepid ESX Accessed May 29, 2004.
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