Duke Energy Begins Testing Plug-In Hybrids In Its Fleet

Duke Energy has taken delivery of eight Town & Country plug-in hybrid minivans from Chrysler Group LLC as a part of a two-year project the utility is undertaking to test the technology in its fleet.

Duke has been pursuing a stated goal of shifting its corporate fleet to all-electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. After 2020, the company is planning to purchase only such vehicles.

The new Town & Country plug-in hybrid minivans – the first eight of a total of 25 – will be subjected to real-world testing aimed at gathering feedback for Chrysler engineers, as well as data for Duke to assess as it rolls out more charging infrastructure at its company sites. Duke is also planning to test hybrid Ram pickups in the near future.

The minivans feature an E85-compatible 3.6 L Pentastar engine complemented by a liquid-cooled 12.1 kWh lithium-ion battery. The vehicle's output is 290 horsepower, and Chrysler says the range exceeds 700 miles.

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