NC-based Duke, one of the largest electric utilities in the US, will evaluate the vehicles’ performance and fuel economy over the next two years.
Chrysler, working in partnership with the DOE, delivered eight plug-in hybrid Town & Country minivans to Duke Energy today. Charlotte, NC-based Duke, one of the largest electric utilities in the US, will evaluate the vehicles’ performance and fuel economy over the next two years.
Chrysler’s Abdullah Bazzi said that the data gathered “will enable Chrysler engineers to assess the viability of the technology for future applications.”
Chrysler has been slow to the plug-in scene. The company has played it safe with a series of small-scale test fleets while we await production of the Fiat 500 EV, originally scheduled for 2012. Duke Energy’s electrification plans are much more ambitious.
“In 2009, we made a commitment to transition our company cars and trucks to all-electric or PHEVs, with a goal of 100 percent of all new vehicles purchased after 2020 having plug-in capability,” said Mike Allison, Duke’s Director of Fleet Design and Technical Services. “Giving our employees the opportunity to experience driving an electric vehicle, as well as installing the charging infrastructure and collecting the data will help us better plan for and prepare for that transition. We appreciate Chrysler for selecting us to participate in their test.”
Each of the minivans has an E85-compatible 3.6-liter Pentastar engine, a front-wheel-drive, two-mode hybrid transmission, and a liquid-cooled 12.1-kWh lithium-ion battery.