Long ago, Dodge had grand plans for a dual-mode Ram 1500 hybrid. Following Chrysler’s bankruptcy, that program was scrapped for consumer use, but continued as part of a program with the Department of Energy. As a result, several fleets around the country are now testing Ram 1500 PHEVs — the latest being Boston, Massachusetts.
10 of the 140 Ram 1500 PHEVs in service around the country have been allocated to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Ram chose Boston to test the trucks for the next three years so that it could collect data on its plug-in hybrid systems under city driving conditions. “Boston offers heavy traffic and urban driving that are ideal city test cycles,” said Abdullah Bazzi, Chrysler Senior Manager for advanced hybrid vehicle project, “The constant charging will allow us to measure the impact on battery life and charging efficiency.”
Chrysler is currently using the Ram 1500 PHEVs to evaluate how its customers use, drive, and charge the vehicles, as well as to collect data on thermal management, fuel economy, emissions, and impact on the regional power grid. Other cities that have received Ram 1500 PHEVs include Yuma, Ariz., Albany, N.Y., Charlotte, N.C., and San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif.
As a refresher, the Ram 1500 PHEV is based on Chrysler’s short-lived dual-mode hybrid system (shared with General Motors) that made its way into to handful of Dodge Durangos and Chrysler Aspens. The Ram 1500 PHEV is powered by a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, an electric motor, and a 12.9 kWhr lithium ion battery pack, which is installed underneath the rear seats.
Despite the sizable test program, Chrysler maintains it currently has no plans for a production version of the 1500 PHEV.