Chrysler Group will build 140 Ram plug-in hybrid electric vehicles for use in a three-year demonstration fleet.
Additionally, the automaker has canceled plans to produce a Two Mode hybrid Ram pickup, citing its inability to create a profitable business case. The vehicle was due for the 2011 model year. General Motors Co.'s Two Mode hybrid full-sized SUVs and pickups have sold poorly.
Chrysler worked with GM, BMW and Daimler AG to develop the Two Mode transmission.
Funding for the plug-in hybrid Ram will come from a U.S. Department of Energy grant of up to $48 million, the automaker said today. Chrysler's grant comes from the department's vehicle electrification program, part of the $2.4 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The Ram plug-in hybrid will use a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that is mated to a Two Mode hybrid transmission and a 12-kilowatt-per-hour lithium ion battery.
The vehicle is capable of traveling up to 20 miles on electricity, the automaker said. Chrysler has partnered with Electrovaya Inc. to supply the batteries for the test fleet.
"This initiative represents how government, automotive industry, suppliers and key partners are reaching common goals and demonstrates how rapidly this type of advanced technology can be brought to market," Paolo Ferrero, Chrysler's powertrain senior vice president, said in a news release issued today.
Said Ferrero: "DOE support for domestic advanced technology is an important enabler for Chrysler Group and its key suppliers in order to understand and test customer acceptance and the capability of plug-in hybrid electric systems in a variety of real-world conditions."