Press Releases

New Tenneco Automotive Elastomeric Torsional Axle Gives DaimlerChrysler ESX3 Concept Vehicle a Unique Independent Rear Suspension

February 22, 2000

LAKE FOREST, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 22, 2000--Tenneco Automotive (NYSE: TEN) has designed and built a lightweight, elastomeric rear suspension system for the DaimlerChrysler ESX3 concept car that will be unveiled today in Washington, D.C.

The patented technology from Tenneco Automotive, the Elastomeric Torsional Axle, "dramatically simplifies the equation for improving vehicle handling and enhancing passenger space and comfort, while reducing vehicle weight," said Tenneco Automotive Senior Vice President Tim Jackson. "The ESX3 rear suspension system uses unique engineering to meet key suspension design guidelines - an independent rear suspension solution in a cost-effective, compact package."

The ESX3 is DaimlerChrysler's concept car for the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicle (PNGV), which is a joint effort between the government and the domestic auto industry to develop highly fuel efficient vehicles that began in 1993.

With a clean diesel-electric hybrid powertrain, lightweight thermoplastic body, and unique electro-mechanical automatic transmission, the ESX3 achieves the gasoline equivalent of 72 miles per gallon combined city/highway fuel economy. DaimlerChrysler turned to Tenneco Automotive for its advanced technology and ride control engineering expertise to develop an independent rear suspension for its new generation vehicle.

The Elastomeric Torsional Axle utilizes a simple axle tube with patented elastomeric spring elements to eliminate traditional springs and associated mounts and brackets, reducing complexity compared to most independent rear suspension designs. The system requires limited contact points with the vehicle underbody and can be provided as a modular assembly. Because most of the system can be mounted below floor level, the total rear suspension requires up to 40 percent less packaging height in the vehicle, ideal for low-load floor height platforms like passenger cars and minivans. In addition, both shocks and elastomeric springs can be tuned for optimum ride and handling.

"We are extremely proud to be part of DaimlerChrysler's ESX3 development team, and are focused on putting our elastomeric rear suspension technology into production," Jackson said. "We also believe the technology will have a wide range of applications for passenger cars, light trucks, heavy-duty vehicles and trailers."

With the Elastomeric Torsional Axle prominent on the ESX3, Tenneco Automotive ride control or exhaust technology now is positioned on all three major PNGV cars. Tenneco Automotive provides the complete lightweight suspension system for the General Motors Precept technology demonstration vehicle, as well as the exhaust system for the Ford Prodigy hybrid family car prototype.

"In order to meet aggressive next-generation fuel efficiency and emissions goals, tomorrow's vehicles will need to be considerably lighter and more efficient than existing technology," Jackson said. "Tenneco Automotive is addressing these challenges by developing innovative, yet cost-effective ride and emissions control solutions."

Tenneco Automotive is a $3.2 billion manufacturing company headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., with 24,000 employees worldwide. Tenneco Automotive is one of the world's largest producers and marketers of ride control and exhaust systems and products, which are sold under the Monroe(R) and Walker(R) global brand names. Among its products are Sensa-Trac(R) and Reflex(TM) shocks and struts, Rancho(R) shock absorbers, Walker(R) Quiet-Flow(TM) mufflers and DynoMax(TM) performance exhaust products, and Monroe(R) Clevite(TM) vibration control components.