Chrysler is set to introduce a new vehicle that could pave the way for a whole new class of hybrid vehicles: Plug-in trucks.
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Chrysler Group a grant that the automaker will use to build 140 plug-in hybrid Ram trucks for a demonstration project.
The Ram PHEVs will be part of a three-year demonstration project. The grant funding of up to $48 million will come from a $2.4 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act DOE Vehicle Electrification program.
The Ram PHEV features Chrysler Group’s 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with a two-mode hybrid transmission and a 12KwHr lithium-ion battery. The vehicle is capable of up to 20 miles of zero-emission, pure-electric range without the need for gasoline. An overall fuel economy improvement of more than 65 percent is expected for average drive cycles.
In 2008, Chrysler announced the company’s intention to bring a Ram Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) to market. But after evaluating the response to hybrid pickups in the marketplace, the company said it could not formulate an appropriate business case and has decided to cancel development work on the 2011 Ram HEV.
Chrysler said its alliance with Fiat Group brings new platforms and technologies that allow the company to create an improved long-term product strategy with greater fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.
Photo courtesy of DieselDemon under the Creative Commons License