Chrysler Testing Plug-In Hybrid Minivans
Prototypes expected to become reality within 2-3 years.
The vans feature a 12.1-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery paired with the company's 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine. Together, they make an SRT-worthy 290 horsepower, which could make this Town & Country the fastest factory minivan on record. The 6.6-kilowatt onboard charger, double the size of the one in the Nissan Leaf, allows the van to recharge in just two to four hours at 220 volts, or eight to 15 hours on a 110-volt plug, according to Chrysler. Total electric range is an estimated 22 miles in city driving, with a total range of 700 miles.
The city of Auburn Hills, Mich., will receive four of the vans. Others slated to receive the vans: Michigan utility DTE Energy; North Carolina utility Duke Energy; the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago; Yuma, Ariz.; and Sacramento, Calif. Chrysler expects to collect data from nearly 17,000 miles of driving, per van, through June 2014. The project is funded in part by a $10 million grant from the Energy Department.
Chrysler first showed a plug-in hybrid Town & Country, along with a plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler, in 2008. The automaker also proposed, but never built, a fleet of all-electric Town & Country models for the U.S. Postal Service.
(Note: based on erroneous information from Chrysler, the original version of this post quoted the prototype minivans as featuring 390 horsepower; this information was later corrected to quote the appropriate figure of 290 horsepower.)
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