Duke Energy of Charlotte, N.C. has started testing and evaluating eight Chrysler Town & Country plug-in hybrid minivans.
The utility company, serving customers in North and South Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, took delivery of these units on April 18.
The eight front-wheel drive units are part of a pilot project of 25 such Town & Country plug-in hybrid minivans Chrysler is providing to various commercial fleets. The goal is to study how the technology chosen fares in real-world minivan application.
These pilot project vehicles will be evaluated based on city drive cycles, thermal and charging performance, fuel economy, and real-world performance.
The Chrysler Town & Country plug-in hybrids are powered by the known E85-compatible 3.6L Pentastar engine, which is linked to a two-mode hybrid transmission; and is combined to a liquid-cooled 12.1-kwh lithium-ion battery. The end result is a total output of 290 horsepower and a range of 700 miles.
These vehicles can be charged in two to four hours under 240 volt Level 2 charging, and eight to 15 hours under 120 volts current with a Level 1 charge unit.
This pilot project follows another test Duke is conducting with Chrysler, this one of 10 Ram 1,500 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) pickup trucks. These Rams are powered by a liquid-cooled 12.9-kwh lithium-ion battery pack and a 6.6-kw on-board charger, all of this combined to the company’s 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine and two-mode hybrid transmission.