If you happen to be driving on the congested, urban streets of Sacramento or San Francisco, you might see a rare sight, a Chrysler Ram 1500 plug in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). A fleet 14 of the demonstration trucks was delivered to each city earlier this month.
But if you’re itching to buy one of the eco-friendly trucks, you’re out of luck. So far there are no plans to start production on the vehicles yet. The California trucks are part of a larger 140 vehicle fleet being tested over the next three years to evealuate customer usage, drive cycles, charging, thermal management, fuel economy, emissions and impact on the region’s electric vehicle grid.
Earlier this year, 10 of the Ram trucks were delivered to Yuma, Arizona to test the vehicles in hot weather and thermal testing conditions. Cities and states were chosen specifically to evaluate the temperature extremes, urban traffic cycles, diverse climates and geographies. Additional test states include Massachusetts, Hawaii and North Dakota.
Features of the Ram 1500 PHEV include a liquid-cooled 12.9 kilowatt hour lithium ion battery pack and 6.6 killowatt on-board charger. The front axle of the four wheel drive automatic transmission can be disconnected as needed to increase fuel economy. The powertrain is a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine and a two-mode hybrid transmission. The Hemi is equipped iwth fuel saver technology that improves fuel efficiency at highway speeds by shutting down fuel on up to four cylinders.