Transportation & Fuel Source Technology
DaimlerChrysler Expands Concept Plug-in Hybrid Program
In a display of commitment to the development of hybrid powertrain architecture and
advanced batteries, DaimlerChrysler is expanding its concept plug-in hybrid
program to include the all-new 2007 Dodge Sprinter.
Up to 20 Dodge Sprinter Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) will be
placed in the United States between now and the first quarter of 2008 as
part of a test-fleet program. Four of the vehicles, built on the previous-
generation Dodge Sprinter, already are in operation with customers.
DaimlerChrysler is the only auto manufacturer currently evaluating a
variety of plug-in hybrid powertrain (diesel and gas) configurations in
real-world, customer-operation service within the United States.
Battery development is one of the keys to the success of hybrid and
fuel- cell transportation. Lithium-ion holds the greatest promise for
battery technology. A number of the Dodge Sprinter PHEVs will be equipped
with lithium-ion batteries that are about half the weight and have much
greater storage capacities when compared with nickel-metal hydride
batteries. The vehicles will yield technical information through real-world
driving conditions about lifetime, performance and cost of batteries.
"For plug-in hybrid technology to move forward, a dramatic leap in
battery technology is necessary," said Mark Chernoby, Vice President -
Advance Vehicle Engineering, Chrysler Group. "The energy storage systems in
the Dodge Sprinter PHEV concept fleet will provide valuable field
experience on the possibilities with lithium-ion battery technology."
Plug-in technology lends itself to commercial applications where the
vehicle returns to base after each shift to be plugged into the power grid.
In short stop-and-go routes, the vehicle will use very little fuel.
The Dodge Sprinter PHEV has the ability to drive up to 20 miles on
electric-only power. It accomplishes this with a switch on the dashboard
giving the operator the ability to manually switch between modes as needed,
or automatically by the vehicle control system. Two different combustion
engines are being offered in the Dodge Sprinter PHEV -- diesel or gasoline.
The diesel version will yield the highest fuel economy benefit and is the
first fleet test of a diesel plug-in hybrid system.
Plug-in hybrid technology is part of DaimlerChrysler
propulsion technology umbrella that also includes exceptionally efficient
gasoline engines, advanced diesel technology, ethanol flex-fuel and
zero-emission fuel cell vehicles.
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