Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced a partnership with Chrysler Group LLC, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and San Francisco to test a fleet of 14 Ram 1500 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) pickup trucks as part of a three year demonstration project. Real world city miles accumulated on the demonstration vehicles will be used to evaluate city drive cycles, charging performance, fuel economy and real-world performance.

"America's future lies beyond oil, and in San Francisco we are taking the steps necessary to start securing our green future today," said Mayor Lee. "We are excited to work with Chrysler to put these fourteen Ram plug-in hybrid electric pickup trucks to the test. By working with the car industry and the Department of Energy, we can test technology that may break our dependence on oil, reduce our presence in the Middle East, create jobs, and eliminate a major portion of our greenhouse gas emissions."

The 14 PHEV Ram 1500 pickups are part of a national demonstration fleet of 140 vehicles that will be used during the next three years to evaluate customer usage, drive cycles, charging, thermal management, fuel economy, emissions and impact on the region's electric grid. In addition to San Francisco, eleven other partners across the United States will receive vehicles for demonstration and testing purposes.

Cities and states were selected to evaluate temperature extremes, urban traffic cycles and diverse climates and geographies from North Dakota, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Arizona. California cities include San Francisco and Sacramento. Earlier this year, Chrysler Group LLC delivered 10 Ram 1500 PHEV trucks to the city of Yuma, Arizona, to take full advantage of hot weather and conduct thermal testing in the desert southwest. Strictly a demonstration program, there are no plans for a production version of the PHEV Ram 1500 truck at this time.

"Cities have been carefully selected to help Chrysler Group collect a wide range of data," said Abdullah Bazzi, Senior Manager of Chrysler's advanced hybrid vehicle project. "San Francisco offers heavy traffic and urban driving that are ideal city test cycles. The constant charging will allow us to measure the impact on battery life and charging efficiency."

The Ram 1500 PHEV includes a liquid-cooled 12.9kWhr lithium ion battery pack and a 6.6 kilowatt (kW) on-board charger. Additional features include AC power generation of up to 6.6kW; Bi-directional charging; reverse power flow and full regenerative braking used to capture more energy. For fuel economy improvements, the front axle of the four-wheel-drive automatic transmission can be disconnected when not needed. The powertrain also includes a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine and a two-mode hybrid transmission. The 5.7-liter Hemi is equipped with a Multiple Displacement System (MDS) that improves fuel efficiency at highway speeds by shutting down fuel delivery to up to four cylinders. The battery pack is located under the second-row seat of the pickup and is liquid cooled to help maintain a consistent battery temperature. For on-the-job electrical power tools, a 240 volt/30 amp four-prong outlet and 120volt/20amp duplex outlet power strip is located in the rear box.

The choice of a Ram 1500 pickup truck was based upon two-speed transmission technology that was readily available.

Urban use also will be tracked to measure battery performance and overall hybrid efficiency with the demonstration fleet of pickups. Other uses include military bases where vehicles will be able to provide power back to the electric grid in what is termed "reverse power flow" of up to 6.6kW.

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, 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.

The Chrysler Group also is developing a similar fleet of 25 Town & Country minivans with plug-in hybrid technology for demonstration and evaluation that will be allocated to select cities later this year.