DaimlerChrysler Testing Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles
– More than 20 Dodge Sprinter plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEV) will be in service in the U.S. between now and the first quarter of 2008 as part of a test-fleet program, according to DaimlerChrysler. The manufacturer says it is the only auto manufacturer currently evaluating a variety of plug-in hybrid powertrain configurations under customer-operation conditions in real-world service. Battery development is one of the keys to the success of hybrid and fuel-cell transportation, and lithium ion holds the greatest promise for battery technology, according to the company. A number of the Dodge Sprinter PHEVs are equipped with lithium-ion batteries, which are about half the weight and have much greater storage capacities when compared with nickel-metal hydride batteries. The vehicles will yield technical information through real-world driving conditions about lifetime, performance, and battery cost.