Chrysler hybrid minivans hit the street around the US – but not dealerships

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CH012_001TC.jpgThe Chrysler Group is often questioned for their lack of
hybrid vehicles in showrooms around the country but the company is currently
working on building a fleet of plug-in hybrid vehicles for commercial test use
around the country including the Ram 1500 and, more recently, the new Chrysler
Town & Country minivan.  These
vehicles are being distributed to municipalities and utility providers around
the US as part of a two year test program in cooperation with the US Department
of Energy.

The new Chrysler Town & Country plug-in hybrid minivans
have been issued to groups in North Carolina and Arizona as part of the program
to put these vehicles through the paces of real-world use without the risk of
any issues stemming from usage by the general public.  Giving these vehicles to the various groups
for testing with help from the US DOE, Chrysler can put their hybrid
drivetrains to the most vigorous of tests without having to worry about turning
off consumers due to any issues that may arise.

The new plug-in hybrid Chrysler Town & Country is
powered by the 3.6L Pentastar V6 mated to a dual-mode hybrid transmission that
is driven by a 12.1kWh lithium ion battery that produces a total output of 290
horsepower and a total range of 700 miles. 
The high voltage electrical system can be fully charged in just 2-4
hours using a 220 volt outlet while a traditional 110 outlet will take 8 to 15

While the Chrysler Group will still likely be questioned for
their lack of hybrid vehicles in the consumer market, the Chrysler Town &
Country hybrid and the Ram 1500 hybrid are signs that Chrysler is working on a
thriving hybrid program that is bound to hit dealerships – sooner or later.

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