Chrysler Group has been selected for a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant of up to $48 million as part of a $2.4 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act DOE Vehicle Electrification program. Chrysler Group is planning to build a total of 140 Ram plug-in electric hybrid vehicles (PHEV) for a three-year demonstration project that includes various geographic and climatic locations across the United States.
"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 Paolo Ferrero, Senior Vice President-Powertrain, Chrysler Group LLC. "DOE-support for domestic advanced technology is an important enabler for Chrysler Group 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-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 more than 65 percent is expected for average drive cycles. Chrysler Group has partnered with Electrovaya Inc. to supply the advanced lithium ion batteries for the Ram PHEV test fleet.
The DOE grant will expedite the development of vehicle-electrification technology. More than 21 Chrysler Group partners across the U.S., including utility companies, government agencies and universities will independently test the Ram PHEV and provide valuable data for the advancement of the technology.
In 2008, Chrysler Group announced the company's intention to bring a Ram Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) to market. After closely evaluating the response to hybrid pickups in the marketplace, the company could not formulate an appropriate business case and has decided to cancel development work on the 2011 Ram HEV.