Up to 40 Dodge Sprinter Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) will be placed in operation with customers in several U.S. states and other countries around the world, as part of a test fleet program, DaimlerChrysler announced this week.
DaimlerChrysler is the only auto manufacturer doing real-world feasibility tests of plug-in hybrids. The technology lends itself well to commercial applications where the vehicle returns to base after each shift to be plugged into the power grid. It also works well in urban traffic situations for daily commuters.
Based on Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle technology, the Dodge Sprinter PHEV has the ability to drive up to 20 miles on electric only power. It has a switch on the dashboard giving the operator the ability to manually switch between modes as needed or automatically by the vehicle control system.
Two different combustion engines are being mated to the PHEV system, a five-cylinder diesel and a V-6 gasoline. The diesel version will yield the highest fuel economy benefit.
Plug-in hybrid technology is part of DaimlerChrysler's advanced propulsion technology umbrella, which also includes exceptionally efficient gasoline engines, advanced diesel technology, ethanol flex-fuel and zero-emission fuel cell vehicles.