Chrysler has secured a US Department of Energy (DOE) grant of up to US$48m as part of a $2.4bn American Recovery and Reinvestment Act vehicle electrification programme.
Chrysler Group is planning to build 140 Ram Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) for a three-year demonstration project that includes various locations and climates across the US.
“This initiative represents how government, automotive industry, suppliers and key partners are reaching common goals and demonstrates how rapidly this type of advanced technology can be brought to market,” said Chrysler powertrain chief Paolo Ferrero.
“DOE-support for domestic advanced technology is an important enabler for Chrysler and its key suppliers in order to understand and test customer acceptance and the capability of PHEV systems in a variety of real-world conditions.”
The Ram PHEV features Chrysler Group’s 5.7 litre HEMI V8 with a two mode hybrid transmission and a 12KwHr lithium ion battery. The vehicle is capable of up to 20 miles (32km) of zero emission, pure electric range without the need for petrol.
An overall fuel economy improvement more than 65% is expected for average drive cycles. Chrysler has partnered with Electrovaya to supply the advanced lithium ion batteries for the Ram PHEV test fleet.
Over 21 firms across the US including utility companies, government agencies and universities will independently test the Ram PHEV.
In 2008, Chrysler announced the company’s intention to put a Ram Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) to market. However, after evaluating the response to hybrid pick-ups, the company said it could not formulate a business case and had cancelled development work.