Chrysler Group Providing Plug-In Hybrid Pickups To Texas Utility

Chrysler Group LLC, working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), will deliver five demonstration Ram 1500 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) pickup trucks to CenterPoint Energy's electric utility in Houston.

The PHEV pickups are part of a national demonstration fleet of 140 vehicles that will be used during the next three years to evaluate customer usage, drive cycles, charging, thermal management, fuel economy, emissions and impact on the region's electric grid. In addition to CenterPoint Energy, seven other partners across the U.S. are slated to receive vehicles for demonstration and testing purposes.

CenterPoint Energy currently has six charging stations and plans to install an additional 10 stations at company facilities throughout its 5,000 square-mile electric service territory.

Cities and states were selected to evaluate temperature extremes, urban traffic cycles and diverse climates and geographies. Urban use will be tracked to measure battery performance and overall hybrid efficiency.

Funding for the program in part is provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 through the Transportation Electrification Initiative sponsored by the DOE. The grant totals $48 million from DOE and $49.4 million from Chrysler Group LLC.

The Ram 1500 PHEV includes a liquid-cooled 12.9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 6.6 kW on-board charger. Strictly a demonstration program, there are no plans for a production version of the PHEV Ram 1500 truck at this time, according to Chrysler.

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