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USA: Chrysler Group Launches Vital Second Phase of PHEV Minivan Project

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Three plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs) delivered to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) as part of demonstration project by Chrysler Group LLC

25 plug-in hybrid Chrysler Town & Country minivans now in service

Vehicles developed in partnership with U.S. Department of Energy

PHEVs will be used to evaluate city drive cycles, thermal and charging performance, fuel economy and real-world performance

The data-collection phase of Chrysler Group LLC’s plug-in hybrid minivan project begins in earnest with the completion of the demonstration fleet’s deployment.

Three plug-in hybrid-electric Chrysler Town & Country minivans went into service today with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), bringing to 25 the total number of such vehicles on American roads.

“The focus now shifts from engineering design and development of this unique technology, to real-world testing and evaluation,” said Abdullah Bazzi, senior manager of Chrysler Group’s advanced hybrid vehicle project.

The plug-in hybrids will be subjected to “temperature extremes and variations of drive cycles,” Bazzi said, adding resulting data will shed light on customer acceptance of the technology and its impact on the grid.

Other deployments are in Arizona, North Carolina and Michigan.

Two additional plug-in hybrid minivans will be retained by Chrysler Group engineers. One of those vehicles will be subject to a short-duration test by Argonne National Laboratory.

The two-year project stems from Chrysler Group’s partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE has invested $10 million to further the research.

Each plug-in hybrid Town & Country is equipped with an E85-compatible 3.6L Pentastar engine mated to a front-wheel-drive, two-mode hybrid transmission.

It also is powered by a liquid-cooled 12.1 KWhr lithium-ion battery that affords a total output of 290 horsepower and a range of 700-miles. Charge times are two-to-four hours at 220 volts with a “Level 2” charge cord unit, and eight-to-15 hours at 110 volts with a “Level 1” charge unit.

The vehicle’s hybrid system does not require charging.

A fleet of plug-in hybrid Ram pickups also is being evaluated as part of a wider project.

Chrysler Group dominates the minivan market, selling 13.4 million units globally since inventing the segment in 1983.

About Chrysler Group LLC

Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 from a global strategic alliance with Fiat S.p.A., produces Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, SRT, Fiat and Mopar vehicles and products. With the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete on a global scale, the alliance builds on Chrysler Group’s culture of innovation, first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925, and Fiat’s complementary technology that dates back to its founding in 1899.

Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler Group’s product lineup features some of the world’s most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Challenger and Ram 1500. Fiat contributes world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small- and medium-size cars, allowing Chrysler Group to offer an expanded product line including environmentally friendly vehicles. www.chryslerllc.com

About SMUD

As the nation’s sixth-largest community-owned electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for more than 65 years to Sacramento County (and a small portion of Placer County). SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment.

SSMUD has actively supported electric vehicles since 1989 to help improve the air quality in the Sacramento region and reduce our dependency on oil. SMUD was involved in alternative transportation solutions even before climate change and global warming became high-profile issues. Environmental leadership is one of the SMUD Board’s core values. Through the years SMUD has partnered with a host of major automakers, entrepreneurs, universities and other technology developers regarding all types of electric vehicles. SMUD is the first large California utility to receive more than 20 percent of its energy from renewable resources. For more information, visit www.smud.org

SOURCE Chrysler Group LLC
Source marketwatch.com

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