Chrysler pulls plug on plug-in hybrids for now, working on battery upgrade

Chrysler PHEV

Chrysler Group LLC announced today that is pulling the plug on its test fleet of advanced plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs) to conduct a battery-pack upgrade.

“This action is being taken to build upon the lessons from the initial deployment and to concentrate resources and technical development on a superior battery,” said Michael Duhaime, global director-electrified powertrain propulsion systems.

Chrysler said that three of the fleet’s 109 pickups equipped with plug-in hybrid powertrains sustained damage when their prototype 12.9-kWh lithium-ion propulsion batteries overheated. There were no similar issues that occurred with 23 plug-in hybrid minivans deployed as part of a parallel project. However, Chrysler is withdrawing them from service for a battery upgrade.

“A different battery chemistry will be used in the projects’ next phase, which will focus on grid interaction and improved safety,” Chrysler said in s statement. “The complexity of the engineering solution will determine how many vehicles return to service.”

The testing program starter last year and is scheduled to end in 2014.

– By: Omar Rana