U.S. Gives Chrysler $48M to Develop Ram Plug-In Hybrid Pickups; Conventional Ram Hybrid Dead

On the heels of an announcement that Chrysler will be releasing an all-electric version of the Fiat 500 in the US in 2012, the company has also just let drop that the US Department of Energy (DOE) will be giving them up to $48 million to build a test fleet of 140 Ram plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs).

Chrysler claims that these Ram PHEVs will get up to 65% better fuel economy than a standard Ram pickup and have 20 miles of electric-only driving range.

The $48 million grant is part of the $2.4 billion in stimulus funds that DOE is doling out under their Vehicle Electrification Program. Chrysler will use the money to not only engineer and build the vehicles, but also test them all across the country in different climates and under different stresses.

The Ram PHEVs will have a standard 5.7 liter HEMI V-8 mated to a two-mode hybrid system. To get the stated 20 mile all-electric range, the Ram PHEV will also have a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack supplied by Electrovaya.

As with the Fiat 500EV, details are also scarce on this project. It should be noted that back in 2008, Chrysler was working on a regular hybrid version of the Ram that would have made it to market this year. But buried in the press release about the Ram PHEV, there is also the little tidbit that this conventional hybrid program has now been killed due to lack of a “business case.” What does that tell you about Chrysler’s commitment to sustainable transportation?

Certainly, the world needs next gen solutions for our heavier duty vehicles too. For construction, a heavier duty PHEV pickup could make a lot of sense. But can Chrysler blame us if we are all still a bit skeptical that any of their new next gen vehicle plans will actually see the light of day? Or are they just reaching into the government funding barrel once again without plans to deliver?

Check out the full press release on the next page.

Source: Chrysler

 

Nick Chambers

Not your traditional car guy.