06. April 2016

SAE Franz F. Pischinger Powertrain Innovation Award Goes to FCA’s Bob Lee

FEV North America, Inc.-sponsored award recognizes Lee for breakthrough powertrain developments, and a commitment to development of advanced technology, fuel- efficient engines.

Detroit, April 6, 2016 – The FEV Group (FEV), a leading developer of advanced powertrain and vehicle system technologies, announced today that the eighth annual SAE Franz F. Pischinger Powertrain Innovation Award will be presented to Robert (Bob) Lee, Vice President, Engine, Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion, and Systems Engineering, FCA – North America. Prof. Stefan Pischinger, president and CEO of the FEV Group, and son of founder and award namesake Prof. Franz F. Pischinger, will present the award, which was established in 2008 and is sponsored by FEV, at the annual SAE awards ceremony held in conjunction with the 2016 World Congress at Cobo Center in Detroit. 

“The powertrain innovations developed during Bob’s tenure, beginning at Chrysler and eventually at FCA, clearly demonstrate his creativity in the development of new products, the application of new technologies and the competence to solve the refinement issues associated with new innovations,” said Prof. Franz Pischinger. “Moreover, his unique and consistent focus on the application of sound engineering principles in powertrain design and development has resulted in the mentoring and nurturing of an entire generation of powertrain engineers with a similar skill set. Bob possesses the skills, background and experience that were intended when this award was founded, and I am gratified to see that he is this year’s recipient.” 

Lee joined Chrysler in 1978 as an engineer-in-training and rose progressively through the ranks at Chrysler and its subsequent corporate entities. He was appointed VP of Engine, Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion in 2011. Lee also is the head of Powertrain Coordination for FCA – Global, and represents Powertrain on the Group Executive Council for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. The FEC is the highest management-level decision-making body within the FCA organization, and is led by the FCA CEO.

A fraction of Lee’s accomplishments, but perhaps the most visible, includes the development of the reimagined and iconic 5.7L HEMI® engine, introduced in 2003. The new HEMI also included a game-changing cylinder deactivation system technology, the Multi Displacement System (MDS) that allowed the engine to offer both class-leading performance and high levels of fuel efficiency under part load conditions. Since its introduction, nearly 4.5 million HEMI-powered vehicles have been produced, and the company estimates that MDS technology will save 2.3 billion gallons of gasoline, equating to a reduction of 20 million tons of CO2 during the vehicles’ life cycles. 

Lee also oversaw the development of the 3.6L Pentastar engine, which debuted in 2011. The diverse engine replaced seven existing V6 engines with a modern, highly efficient, lightweight engine for use across a number of platforms, including passenger cars, light trucks and SUVs. The Pentastar play a significant role in contributing to the company’s CAFE performance. More than 5 million engines have been produced in less than five years.

His influence reached far beyond traditional powertrains, though, and Lee was instrumental in initiating a groundbreaking joint venture between GM and the then DaimlerChrysler to develop a hybrid system for SUV applications. The resulting Chrysler Aspen Hybrid opened the door to new powertrain / vehicle systems engineering undertaken by a diverse group of engineers from both companies. 

The joint venture also laid the foundation for the formation for the Electrified Propulsion Group activities responsible for a number of highly successful vehicles, including the highly praised Pacifica PHEV Minivan. The search for reduced CO2 emissions also included the introduction of 8- and 9-speed transmissions spanning much of the FCA vehicle portfolio.

About the Award
The Franz F. Pischinger Powertrain Innovation Award was established in 2008 by FEV to recognize exceptional innovation and competence in powertrain design and development through the annual recognition of an engineer who has demonstrated outstanding innovation in the field throughout their career. The nominee must be a degreed engineer, employed or retired, who holds or has applied for a patent(s).

About FEV Group
The FEV Group is an internationally recognized powertrain and vehicle engineering company that supports the global transportation industry.  FEV offers a complete range of engineering services, providing support across the globe to customers in the design, analysis, prototyping, powertrain and transmission development, as well as vehicle integration, calibration and homologation for advanced internal combustion gasoline-, diesel-, and alternative-fueled powertrains. FEV also designs, develops and prototypes advanced vehicle / powertrain electronic control systems and hybrid-electric engine concepts that address future emission and fuel economy standards.  The company has expanded its engineering capabilities to include full vehicle systems and now offers broad expertise in electronics, telematics and infotainment system engineering. The FEV Testing Solutions division is a global supplier of advanced test cell, instrumentation and test equipment.  The FEV Group employs a staff of over 4,000 highly skilled specialists at advanced technical centers on three continents.  FEV North America, Inc. employs over 450 personnel in its North American Technical Center in Auburn Hills, MI.