Chrysler Group LLC, working in partnership with the US Department of Energy (DOE), will deliver 10 demonstration fleet Ram 1500 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) pickup trucks to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The PHEV Ram 1500 pickups are part of a national demonstration fleet of 140 vehicles that will be used during the next three years to evaluate customer usage, drive cycles, charging, thermal management, fuel economy, emissions and impact on the region’s electric grid. (Earlier post.)
In addition to MBTA, eight other partners across the United States are slated to receive vehicles for demonstration and testing purposes. Chrysler will also distribute 5 of the Ram PHEVs to Central Hudson Gas & Electric and National Grid officials as part of a national demonstration program for evaluation and testing of the trucks for three years.
Chrysler Group LLC has delivered Ram 1500 PHEV trucks to the city of Yuma, Ariz., to take full advantage of hot weather and conduct thermal testing in the desert southwest. Other cities that have received the demonstration Ram 1500 pickups include San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif., Albany, N.Y., and Charlotte, N.C.
Cities have been carefully selected to help the Chrysler Group LLC collect a wide range of data. Boston offers heavy traffic and urban driving that are ideal city test cycles. The constant charging will allow us to measure the impact on battery life and charging efficiency.—Abdullah Bazzi, senior manager of Chrysler’s advanced hybrid vehicle project
Strictly a demonstration program, there are no plans for a production version of the PHEV Ram 1500 truck at this time.
The Ram 1500 PHEV includes a liquid-cooled 12.9 kWh lithium ion battery pack and a 6.6 kW on-board charger. Additional features include AC power generation of up to 6.6kW; directional charging; reverse power flow and full regenerative braking used to capture more energy. For fuel economy improvements, the front axle of the four-wheel-drive automatic transmission can be disconnected when not needed. The powertrain also includes a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine and a two-mode hybrid transmission. The 5.7-liter HEMI is equipped with a Fuel Saver technology that improves fuel efficiency at highway speeds by shutting down fuel delivery to up to four cylinders.
The battery pack is located under the second-row seat of the pickup and is liquid cooled to help maintain a consistent battery temperature. For on-the-job electrical power tools, a 240 volt/30 amp four-prong outlet and 120volt/20amp duplex outlet power strip is located in the rear box.
Urban use will be tracked to measure battery performance and overall hybrid efficiency with the demonstration fleet of pickups. Other uses include military bases where vehicles will be able to provide power back to the electric grid in what is termed “reverse power flow” of up to 6.6kW.
Funding for the program in part is provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 through the Transportation Electrification Initiative sponsored by the DOE. The grant, totaling $48 million from DOE and $49.4 million from Chrysler Group LLC, was designed to develop vehicles that will be cost efficient for consumers, satisfy safety concerns of daily travel without recharging and help reduce dependence on foreign oil.
The Chrysler Group LLC also is developing a similar fleet of 25 Chrysler Town & Country minivans with plug-in hybrid technology for demonstration and evaluation that will be allocated to select cities later this year.