Battery manufacturer Electrovaya has begun shipping lithium ion battery packs to Chrysler for its test fleet of plug-in hybrid Ram pickup trucks. Chrysler is building 140 trucks based on the two-mode hybrid system that was co-developed with General Motors. A non-plug version of the hybrid Ram was due to go into production this fall, but Chrysler canceled the program in March citing slow sales of other similar vehicles (that would be the Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra hybrids).
Forecasting the future is not always easy and, sometimes, far from accurate, but we like predictions because they usually give us some idea of what to expect as we move forward. In this instance, the predictions point to a world in which plug-in vehicle chargers are almost as common as gas stations. Well, not quite, but they do suggest that the U.S. will lead the world in something – and that's always worth talking about.
Don Hillebrand understands electric vehicles and their benefits and limitations. As the director of the Center for Transportation Research at the Argonne National Laboratory, he has done plenty of testing on all kinds of alternative drive vehicles. Speaking to the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress on Wednesday, Hillebrand acknowledged that despite advances in lithium ion technology, battery electric vehicles still have not evolved far enough to capture a significant share of the mai