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Chrysler Parks Its PHEV Pickups

September 24, 2012 in batteries, EVs, Hybrids by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Three Trucks Were Damaged Due to Battery Overheating

Chrysler gave word Friday that it is idling its test fleet of 109 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles as it is “retooling” the program, including a battery-pack upgrade.

San Francisco took delivery of 14 Chrysler plug-ins in early August 2011.

“This action is being taken to build upon the lessons from the initial deployment and to concentrate resources and technical development on a superior battery,” Michael Duhaime, global director-electrified powertrain propulsion systems said in a release.

Three of the fleet’s 109 PHEV pickups were damaged when their prototype 12.9-kilowatt-hour lithium ion propulsion batteries overheated, Chrysler said.

“We’re exploring a different battery chemistry,” a spokesman told F&F Monday.

The vehicles were deployed last year with SuperPolymer brand batteries from Canada’s Electrovaya.

PHEV Minivans Too, Are Being Idled

No similar issues have occurred with 23 plug-in hybrid minivans later deployed as part of a parallel project (F&F, May 7), Chrysler said. But the vans are also being withdrawn from service for a battery upgrade.

The PHEVs were being evaluated for durability and other attributes by 16 partner organizations – municipalities and utility companies across 20 states. The fleet accumulated more than 1.3 million miles of service in various conditions, from high-altitude Colorado to Arizona desert, Chrysler says, reporting fuel economy of 37.4 miles per gallon for the pickups and 55.0 mpg for the minivans.

Chrysler’s Abdullah Bazzi shows the plug-in pickup’s power takeoff feature, said to be unique for a factory vehicle.

The projects’ next phase will emphasize grid interaction and improved safety, Chrysler said. “The complexity of the engineering solution will determine how many vehicles return to service.”

Some of the fleet’s plug-in pickups are capable of transferring power from their batteries to the grid, which Chrysler says could generate revenue for fleet operators. The trucks also are able to link with each other to form independent mini-grids.

Chrysler said Friday that they are the first factory-built vehicles ever to feature this technology.

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Chrysler, Abdullah Bazzi, 248-944-3093; mobile 248-705-5752; [email protected]

Electrovaya, Ms. Gitanjali Das Gupta, 905-855-4610, ext 3002; [email protected];

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Source: Chrysler announcement with Fleets & Fuels follow-up



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