Chrysler – Hybrid technology ideal for pickup trucks
Including plug-in hybrids
Chrysler has pretty much been a flop when it comes to hybrid vehicles. But, it’s early in the battery game, and pretty much anything is still possible. For instance, Chrysler’s plans to develop hydraulic hybrids might one day mean something.
Additionally, Chrysler is working on plug-in hybrid pickup trucks, a segment the company believes is ideal for battery-powered powertrains.
Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa claims, according to GreenCarAdvisor, that “at the time that the commercial market lends itself to hybrid truck applications more than anything else. A half-ton pickup is much better at carrying a battery pack than a car and trucks really work much better as hybrid vehicle platforms.”
Consequently, Chrysler will begin rolling out a very small fleet of Dodge Ram plug-in hybrid trucks later this summer, as part of an Energy Department grant. Powered with a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 and a plug-in dual-mode hybrid transmission that is capable of 20 miles of electric power, the Dodge Ram plug-in increases fuel economy about 65 percent according to early estimates.
But are pickup trucks really better hybrid platforms?
GM has been selling dual mode hybrid pickup trucks for several years now, but not very many of them. Sticker shock it seems has been quite frightening.
Still, if gas prices rise enough, fleet managers might have to start taking fuel economy more seriously. With their greater ability to think long term, fleets might be enticed to try out hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. So, maybe Chrysler is onto something with their commercial focus.
Ultimately, however, I can’t help but wonder how many people really need a 5.7 liter V-8?
Regardless, if you need one, 65 percent better fuel economy has to be worth quite a bit considering the horrible fuel economy offered by such vehicles. If gas price rise to $4.00+ maybe pickup trucks do finally become a more ideal platform for hybrid technology.