City Receives 3 New Test 'Green' Fleet Vehicles From Chrysler
04/25/2012 | Dave Nash, Public Affairs Coordinator
Yuma, Ariz. - In the next phase of partnership with Chrysler Group LLC and the U.S. Department of Energy, the City of Yuma took receipt this week of three plug-in hybrid minivans.
The three demonstration Town and Country minivans will join the City's fleet on a test basis for two years. Through technology installed on each vehicle, Chrysler engineers will obtain and monitor a wide array of details about the vehicles and how they handle driving a lot of stop-and-go miles in frequently hot, dry conditions.
The immediate benefit to the City is having new vehicles to drive without any purchase or leasing cost at a time when funding for vehicle replacement has been essentially frozen. With new vehicles to drive, the risk of a vehicle breakdown hindering City service is reduced.
Chrysler's partnership with Yuma is one of several that will see a total of 25 plug-in hybrid minivans subjected to a range of driving cycles.
"The drive cycle and the way the vehicles will be tested will provide Chrysler engineering a valuable opportunity," said Abdullah Bazzi, senior manager of the Chrysler Group's advanced hybrid vehicle project. "The City of Yuma is unique due to the extreme high ambient temperature."
Similar to the demonstration Ram trucks the City is already driving as part of the same program, the new minivans are plug-in hybrid-electric (PHEV) vehicles, meaning they can drive using power from an electric battery that can charge in as little as two hours, or power from a hybrid-electric engine that does not require plug-in charging. With an approximate range of 30 to 38 miles using solely electric power and the vehicle operating as a gas-electric hybrid thereafter, the City can realize some savings on fuel costs by driving these vans in place of existing fleet vehicles.
"We've had good success using the trucks with the Police department," said City Fleet Manager Charlie Caudill. "They've been getting better mileage than the (sedans)."
The City currently plans to use the vans for Utilities department workers who will assist City water service customers, and possibly also for deliveries. Due to program requirements, the PHEV side wrapping will remain on the vehicles; the City will add its logo to rear passenger windows.
According to information from Chrysler, each plug-in hybrid minivan is equipped with an E85-compatible 3.6L Pentastar engine mated to a front-wheel-drive, two-mode hybrid transmission. It also is powered by a liquid-cooled 12.1 KWhr lithium-ion battery that affords a total output of 290 horsepower and a range of 700-miles. Charge times are two-to-four hours at 220 volts with a "Level 2" charge cord unit, and eight-to-fifteen hours at 110 volts with a "Level 1" charge unit.
The City of Yuma became the first location to receive delivery of a demonstration fleet of the Ram 1500 model of PHEV pickups at Yuma City Hall in April 2011. The 10 trucks arrived as part of a partnership with Chrysler Group LLC and the U.S. Department of Energy.