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CNN Today

DaimlerChrysler Announces Experimental Gas Miser Car

Aired February 22, 2000 - 2:55 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, in this new era of paying at the pump, how does 72 miles per gallon sound? Not bad.

CNN's Ed Garsten profiles a new gas miser that's ready to pinch pennies.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED GARSTEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the price of a gallon of gas at its highest levels in years, wouldn't it be great if you could squeeze a lot more miles out of every gallon? Here one approach to that problem: DaimlerChrysler's ESX-3, an experimental car that the automaker claims could go 72 miles on a gallon of gas using both an electric motor and a diesel engine, a concept called mild hybrid, or "mybrid."

BERNARD ROBERTSON, DAIMLERCHRYSLER: We make no attempt to try to run the vehicle on the electric motor, we just, as I say, have enough electric power on board the vehicle to recapture breaking energy and to run the accessories with it, and to augment the engine.

GARSTEN: The ESX-3 is the result of what's called the Partnership for a New Generation Vehicle, or PNGV. The partnership between GM, Ford, DaimlerChryser and the U.S. government was created to develop a car that could travel 80 miles on a gallon of gas. Earlier this year, General Motors unveiled its version: the Precept, which it says can meet the 80-mile-a-gallon goal, and Precept II, a fuel-cell-powered vehicle which may surpass it.

HARRY PEARCE, GENERAL MOTORS: This vehicle is, using the federal test schedule composite fuel economy, 108-miles-per-gallon-gasoline equivalent.

GARSTEN: Ford's calls it's PNGV car the Protege. Beyond engineering, the greatest challenge of bringing high-mileage cars to market is the cost -- up to $60,000 more than today's mid-priced sedans. But DaimlerChrysler says, with the ESX-3, it's shaved that margin to just $7500 for a total sticker price in the mid-30s.

Still, it'll be several years before high-mileage vehicles are in your local showroom. By then, the price of gas just may go down.

Ed Garsten, CNN, Detroit.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: We hope so.

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