Photo courtesy Chrysler Group LLC.

Photo courtesy Chrysler Group LLC.

SAN FRANCISCO and SACRAMENTO, CA - Chrysler Group LLC delivered 28 plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) Ram 1500 pickups to San Francisco and Sacramento this week as  part of a demonstration project in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. Chrysler will use information collected from the demonstration vehicles to evaluate city drive cycles, charging performance, fuel economy, and real-world performance.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) received 14 vehicles, four of which will be allocated to the City of Sacramento to demonstrate and test. According to City Fleet Manager Keith Leech, "they will be assigned to mission-critical on-call applications in our Fire Department, Utility Department, Code Enforcement, and DGS-Fleet." He estimates they will be driven 300-400 miles per week for the duration of the three-year program.

"We are especially proud that Sacramento was chosen among 14 communities across the United States to participate in this Transportation Electrification Initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy," Leech said. "These four plug-in hybrid Ram 1500 pick-ups are a welcome addition to our menu of 250 liquefied natural gas, E-85, propane, hybrid alternative-fueled, and advanced technology vehicles that our customer departments depend on each day to carry out the essential services they provide to the City of Sacramento."

Fourteen pickups were delivered to the City of San Francisco to be used across various departments and services. According to Francis Tsang, chief deputy communications director for City, the Department of Public Works received two trucks and the following departments each received one: Animal Care & Control, City Hall vehicle pool, General Services Agency Fleet Management, Human Services Agency, Library, Police, Port of San Francisco, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, City Administrator's Real Estate Dept., Recreation & Parks, Sheriff's Dept., and Treasure Island development authority.

"America's future lies beyond oil, and in San Francisco we are taking the steps necessary to start securing our green future today," San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee stated in a press release. "We are excited to work with Chrysler to put these 14 plug-in hybrid electric pickup trucks to the test. By working with the car industry and the Department of Energy, we can test technology that may break our dependence on oil, reduce our presence in the Middle East, create jobs, and eliminate a major portion of our greenhouse gas emissions."

"We are excited to work with Chrysler to put these 14 plug-in hybrid electric pickup trucks to the test," said San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. Photo courtesy City of San Francisco Mayor's Office.

"We are excited to work with Chrysler to put these 14 plug-in hybrid electric pickup trucks to the test," said San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. Photo courtesy City of San Francisco Mayor's Office.

Strictly a demonstration program, there are no plans for a production version of the PHEV Ram 1500 truck at this time.

The 28 PHEV Ram 1500 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 San Francisco and Sacramento, ten other partners across the United States will receive vehicles for demonstration and testing purposes.

Cities and states were selected to evaluate temperature extremes, urban traffic cycles, and diverse climates and geographies from North Dakota, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Arizona, and California. Earlier this year, Chrysler Group LLC delivered 10 Ram 1500 PHEV trucks to the City of Yuma, Ariz., to take full advantage of hot weather and conduct thermal testing in the desert southwest.

The Ram 1500 PHEV includes a liquid-cooled 12.9kWhr lithium ion battery pack and a 6.6 kilowatt (kW) on-board charger. Additional features include AC power generation of up to 6.6kW; directional charging; reverse power flow; and full regenerative braking used to capture more energy. For fuel economy improvements, the front axle of the four-wheel-drive automatic transmission can be disconnected when not needed. The powertrain also includes a 5.7L HEMI V-8 engine and a two-mode hybrid transmission. The 5.7L Hemi is equipped with a Fuel Saver technology that improves fuel efficiency at highway speeds by shutting down fuel delivery to up to four cylinders.

The battery pack is located under the second-row seat of the pickup and is liquid cooled to help maintain a consistent battery temperature. For on-the-job electrical power tools, a 240 volt/30 amp four-prong outlet and 120volt/20amp duplex outlet power strip is located in the rear box.

The choice of a Ram 1500 pickup truck was based upon two-speed transmission technology that was readily available.

Urban use also will be tracked to measure battery performance and overall hybrid efficiency with the demonstration fleet of pickups. Other uses include military bases where vehicles will be able to provide power back to the electric grid in what is termed "reverse power flow" of up to 6.6kW.

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.