Raise your hand if you already knew that Chrysler has a plug-in hybrid prototype program! Indeed, most of you are hearing this for the first time.
What is Chrysler doing to make these hybrids road-ready?
Chrysler has had 23 minivans and 109 pickup trucks on U.S. roads for almost a year now, all prototypes to test the [hybrid] technology.
Chrysler is pulling them all off the roads – “withdrawing from service” is the specific phrase – due to damage sustained by three separate pickup trucks when their 12.9-kilowatt-hour battery packs overheated.
Chrysler says there were no injuries from any of the incidents, and the pickups were not occupied at the time.
No minivans were involved in any incidents, but while they were only delivered for testing in April, so they too are being withdrawn as a safety precaution.
Chrysler says it’s winding down this phase of the program, which is scheduled to run through 2014, and will upgrade the packs with cells that use a different lithium-ion chemistry before the vehicles go back on the roads.