The Chery DHT – A Sexy New Hybrid

Chery DHT

The Chery DHT hybrid system

The hybrid engine was the first practical solution in the quest for greener cars. That was when batteries were as expensive as they were inefficient, making pure electric vehicles (EVs) impractical. Early hybrid cars were dull and slow and boring to drive, and manufacturers seemed to adapt their designs to these qualities.

Most hybrid cars had ICE engines that generated electricity to drive electric motors and charge a small to medium-sized battery. The big advantage was the regenerative braking that put power back into the battery, and the battery could boost power when needed. You could also travel short distances on battery power alone. Hybrid seemed a stopgap solution until battery electric vehicles caught up with pure ICE, an automotive dead end.

How wrong we were. It was not a dead-end, it was a launchpad.

Chery, who recently formally entered our market with the impressive Tiggo SUVs, has announced a hybrid drive called the DHT Hybrid system. The company describes it as three engines, three gears, nine modes and 11 speeds.

The first of the three engines is the current 1.5-litre turbo-petrol – 115 kW and 230 Nm – which has been converted into a dedicated hybrid version. Then you get two electric motors, one of 55 kW and 160 Nm and the other 70 kW and 155 Nm, and two electric motors of different power. Both motors have fixed-point oil injection cooling systems that allow the motors to run at lower operating temperatures while extending operating life. During development, these motors ran for 30 000 hours 5 million combined testing kilometres.

The three-gear transmission used the power of the three motors with a normal variable transmission to give an infinite range of gear combinations. The driver can use this according to the needs, for example, fuel consumption, high performance or maximum torque for towing.

The nine modes manage the motors and gears to deliver optimum power and efficiency. This could be a single electric motor only, both electrics together, direct drive from the ICE and a parallel drive that uses petrol and electricity together.

The eleven speeds combine all the above to cater for specific driving conditions such as slow traffic, long-distance travel, mountain driving, overtaking and limited traction, with a few more combinations in between.

All this will mean nothing if the hybrid is still rather an ugly, slow car. We know that the recently Tiggo models are really good looking cars. Chery’s DHT Hybrid shifts as well. The two-wheel-drive version will give you 240 kW, while the four-wheel-drive will give you 338 kW and take you from 0-100km/h in around 4 seconds.

While we wait to hear if and when the DHT is coming to South Africa, why not have a look at the very impressive Chery Tiggo 4 Pro, Tiggo 7 Pro or Tiggo 8 Pro now available here?

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