Chrysler has announced that thanks to a government grant it will build a test fleet of hybrid Ram pickups. Chrysler had initially planned to build a Ram HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) for 2011, but those plans were canceled when market demand was shown to be too minimal. The new truck, under the new Ram brand, will be a PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle), using a lithium-ion battery, electric motor, 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and a two-mode hybrid transmission. Chrysler claims a 20 mile emissions-free range, with an improvement of 65 percent over the current Ram 1500.
The $48 million grant comes as a part of a $2.4 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act DOE Vehicle Electrification program, from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
A total of 140 Ram PHEVs will be built to test market demand as well as the durability of such a truck. “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,” said Paolo Ferrero, Senior VP of Powertrain technology at Chrysler.
It’s not clear how soon the trucks will hit the road, but Chrysler is looking to do a three year test of the vehicles before making any decisions.
Official release after the jump: