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
The last time we heard anything substantive from General Motors about its plug-in hybrid program was last August, when it announced that the planned Saturn Vue PHEV would instead be re-badged as a Buick crossover. We all know how that worked out. GM backtracked after less than two weeks and canceled that vehicle. While we were at the Volt battery plant this morning, we ran into Brian Corbett who is the spokesman for all things hybrid at GM.
At this point, it's no secret that the Chevy Volt and other plug-in vehicles are not going to come cheap. About the least pricey full-speed electric vehicle may very well be the Nissan Leaf, which after incentives may be in the $27-28,000 range before the extra cost of leasing the battery. While the operational costs of these cars should be substantially less than any internal combustion vehicle, customers rarely think that far ahead when signing up for a car loan. That's especially true when ga