WASHINGTONChrysler revealed four all-electric Chrysler Town & Country minivan concepts to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) as part of the USPS Earth Day celebration on April 22. USPS has a stated goal of reducing energy use 30 percent by 2015.

The electric Chrysler Town & Country is the automaker's first product from its ENVI electric vehicle division intended for production as a fleet vehicle, according to the Detroit News.

Chrysler will build about 24 more vehicles for the USPS to use and Chrysler to evaluate, while applying for a government grant to expand the demonstration fleet to 250 vehicles, or 50 allocated to each of the country's five postal regions, said Lou Rhodes, vice president of advanced vehicle engineering and president of ENVI, as reported by the Detroit News.

In conjunction with the USPS and select energy service providers, the automaker intends to apply for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Transportation Electrification stimulus program for a federal grant, which would enable it to establish a nationwide demonstration fleet of zero-emission electric minivans that could be used by the U.S. Postal Service for mail delivery.

"Our ENVI electric minivan concepts illustrate Chrysler's innovation with electric vehicle technology and show what the future could hold," said Frank Klegon, executive vice president - product development, Chrysler LLC. Chrysler's ENVI group leveraged the flexibility of its electric-vehicle strategy to demonstrate an all-electric version of its best-selling minivan. These electric minivan concepts are targeted specifically for use by the U.S. Postal Service for mail delivery.

"We continue to look for energy-efficient replacement vehicles for our aging fleet as we explore ways to reduce our transportation-related carbon emissions," said Sam Pulcrano, vice president - sustainability, U.S. Postal Service.

"Chrysler and the Postal Service have an established relationship, as there are more than 10,000 of our minivans in the Postal Service fleet," said Rhodes. "The Postal Service is a recognized environmental innovator and leader, and we are excited at the prospect of continuing our relationship by working to deliver alternative energy postal delivery vehicles in the future."

Because robust grid integration is essential for widespread customer acceptance of electric vehicles, Chrysler has enlisted the involvement of key utility partners, including Duke, ConEd, and DTE. Each has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Chrysler to equip post offices in strategically selected regions of the United States with a charging infrastructure for the envisioned program. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) also has signed an LOI to provide USPS integration tools.