I recently had the opportunity to take one of the new Dodge Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) 1500 4×4 pickup truck for a test drive. The PHEV is a trial unit that Dodge testing in different markets around the country. It is a bit different because it runs on the electric motor more frequently than a regular hybrid vehicle and also has the capability to generate electricity and back feed the grid.
The first thing I noticed about the Dodge PHEV was how quite it ran. When moving at a low rpm range the vehicle ran completely on the electric engine; I could hear the gas engine idling in the background, but it was disengage from vehicle operations. As the need for acceleration increased, the gas motor kicked on nicely and provided the extra horsepower that I needed, but as soon as I backed off of the accelerator and dropped the rpm’s, the gas motor reduced its efforts and allowed the electric motor to take over again. This same standard held true while driving at highway speed. I was cruising comfortably and quietly at 70 mph, but when I needed to pass, the gas motor kicked in and gave me plenty of horsepower to do the job, but as soon as I returned to highway speed, a nice quiet ride resumed. I truly enjoyed driving this truck.
Another really nice feature with this unit is its 6.6kW generator which is capable of back feeding to the grid; but for a more practical application this can be used to run power tools right off of the back of the truck.
The specifications below are from a USA Today article ran back on May 28th 2011.
Ram 1500 PHEV specs according to Chrysler:
A 12.9kWhr lithium ion battery pack under the second-row seat. It’s liquid- cooled for consistent temperature.’
Full regenerative braking.
A 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine and a two-mode hybrid transmission. The Hemi shuts off half the cylinders at highway speeds. For better mileage, the front axle also can be disconnected when not needed.
A 6.6 kilowatt (kW) on-board charger for AC power generation for electric tools and for the “reverse power flow.” A 240 volt/30 amp four-prong outlet and 120 volt/20 amp duplex outlet power strip in the bed can power on-the-job tools.