Chrysler Group LLC has delivered a fleet of 10 plug-in hybrid Ram 1500 pickup trucks to CenterPoint Energy’s electric utility in Houston and NV Energy of Nevada as part of a three-year evaluation program.
The 10 PHEV Ram 1500 pickups, developed in partnership with U.S. Department of Energy, are part of a national evaluation program of 140 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that will be used during the next three years demonstration and evaluation purposes.
The Ram 1500 PHEV includes a liquid-cooled 12.9kWhr lithium ion battery pack and a 6.6 kilowatt (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.
The choice of a Ram 1500 pickup truck was based upon two-speed transmission technology that was readily available.
CenterPoint Energy currently has six charging stations and plans to install an additional 10 stations at company facilities throughout its 5,000 square-mile electric service territory, while NV Energy currently has 11 public charging stations statewide.
Chrysler has also 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., Charlotte, N.C., Boston, Mass., Albany N.Y., and Auburn Hills, Mich.
Aside from the PHEV Ram pickup truck, Chrysler is also developing a similar fleet of 25 Town & Country minivans with plug-in hybrid technology for demonstration and evaluation purposes.