Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is embracing 48-volt Belt Alternator Starter (BAS) hybrid technology in a big way, according to Autoline, with plans to implement such systems across nearly its entire passenger vehicle lineup. BAS mild-hybrid systems utilize alternators that double as electric motors, using stored electricity to restart engines equipped with start-stop capability, and to provide some supplemental torque in certain situations, such as when the vehicle is traveling at low speeds.
BAS systems are simpler, easier to package, and generally cheaper than other types of hybrid powertrain, while still delivering appreciable improvements in performance and fuel economy. Autoline recently drove two brand-new Jeep Wrangler JLs – one fitted with a 3.6L V6 and no BAS, and the other with a 2.0L turbo and BAS – back-to-back, finding that the BAS-equipped SUV was two seconds quicker to 60 mph, and 2 mpg more efficient in real-world driving.
Fiat Chrysler will reportedly source at least some of its BAS systems from Continental. The electricity required to drive the heavy-duty alternator/motor will be stored in a 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack. None of these BAS-equipped vehicles from FCA will be capable of operating in pure-electric mode, but they might just help the automaker meet its fuel economy targets, both in the US and abroad.
Skip ahead to about the 1:08 mark in the video above to hear Autoline‘s quick report on Fiat Chrysler’s Belt Alternator Starter plans.