Chrylser Announces Plug-In Hybrid Ram 1500 Pickup Truck Test Fleet

The HEMI goes electric.

Chrysler announced they?re currently testing 28 PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) 1500 Ram pickup trucks in San Francisco and Sacramento.

I?ve dreamt of a plug-in hybrid electric pickup truck for years. I lie in bed at night and imagine owning a full-size truck that has both V8 power and hybrid fuel economy. Not because I am a boat-owning environmentalist (I am neither) but because it?s the perfect vehicle for the post apocalypse. You can never be too safe in this dismal economic climate and having a back up plan is essential. At the heart of my plan is a hybrid truck.

Chrysler says the three-year-long tests will evaluate real-world factors including: drive-cycle, fuel economy, and performance. The test fleet will later be expanded into four more diverse markets: North Dakota, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Arizona.

Powering these rare beasts is a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 bolted to a two-mode hybrid transmission. Under the back seats is the liquid-cooled 12.9kWhr lithium ion battery pack. The vehicle is also fitted with full regenerative braking, Fuel Saver technology capable of shut down up to four cylinders at a time, and a 6.6-kilowatt (kW) on-board charger. To put into that into perspective, if you plugged your house into the truck during a power-outage 6.6kWs is enough to run your lights, microwave, TV, and a few other choice appliances at once. Not that there will be much to watch on TV after the end of days.

Despite my apocalypse lust, there’s a bigger and more realistic vision behind the test fleet. I think the Chrysler press release said it best: “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. The grant, totaling $48 million from DOE and $49.4 million from Chrysler Group LLC, was designed to develop vehicles that will be cost-efficient for consumers, satisfy safety concerns of daily travel without recharging and help reduce dependence on foreign oil.”

Sadly, Chrysler has no current plans for these plug-in hybrid trucks to enter production. But if they do, I?ll be the first in line to buy one.

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