Maybe it is a good thing Chrysler chose to produce a “prototype” fleet instead of a consumer available one?
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Sept. 22, 2012
Chrysler is withdrawing from service its test fleet of advanced plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle (PHEV) prototypes to conduct a Li-Ion battery-pack swap.
The PHEV Ram’s are part of the 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. In addition to NV Energy, seven other partners across the United States are slated to receive vehicles for demonstration and testing purposes.
Strictly a DOE funded demonstration program, there are no plans for a production version of the PHEV trucks.
The Ram 1500 PHEV includes a liquid-cooled 12.9 kWh Li-Ion 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 braking 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 5.7L HEMI V-8 engine and a two-mode hybrid transmission. The 5.7L 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.
We have done a few stories on RAM 1500 PHEVs to date including the following:
San Francisco to Receive 14 PHEV_Ram Pickups
Not For Sale and Not Going to Be Sold RAM 1500 PHEVs in the News ...
The RAM P/U Truck of the Future
Ram Trucks Pull the Plug on Hybrids
Chrysler Making Waves With Big Fuel Economy Improvement Project ...
Electrovaya Awarded $5 Million from SDTC for PHEV_Battery ...
Dodge Ram PHEV
2010 Dodge Ram Two-Mode Hemi Hybrid Still On Track
According to the Chrysler release, three of the fleet’s 109 pickups equipped with the PHEV powertrains sustained damage when their prototype 12.9 kWh Li-Ion traction batteries overheated. Chrysler stated that there were no injuries and the incidents occurred when the vehicles were unoccupied.
The 23 PHEV minivans experienced no similar issues but are being withdrawn from service for the swap just in case.
A different battery chemistry will be used in the projects' next phase, which should provide improved safety.
The PHEVs were being evaluated for durability and other attributes by 16 partner organizations -- municipalities and utility companies across 20 states. The fleet accumulated more than 1.3 million miles of service in various conditions, from high-altitude Colorado to Arizona’s searing desert.
The HEMI equipped PHEV pickups Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicles (AT-PZEVs) emissions certified with a recorded peak average fuel-economy of 37.4 mpg, while the minivans delivered 55.0 mpg.
The batteries are said to be produced without environmentally any harmful NMP solvent used in most battery-manufacturing processes.
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.
While that is not really occurring, it is a way for Chrysler to get their feet wet while readying their engineering for the future direction of the automobile.