Chrysler U.S. Postal Service Minivan - Click above for high-res gallery
Chrysler is celebrating Earth Day today by unveiling the first four of what will be a fleet of 250 battery-powered minivans for the U.S. Postal Service. The USPS will be using the vans for a variety of duties at locations around the country – including daily home delivery. The vans themselves are based on the concept Town and Country EV that was unveiled last Fall by Chrysler. However, because of the duty cycle used by the Postal Service, which generally amounts to only about 18-20 miles per day on a fixed route, these vehicles are being built without the range extender seen on the concept. However, the electric drive portion of the vehicles, including the motor, electronics and A123 System lithium ion battery pack is identical. The head of Chrysler's ENVI division, Lou Rhodes, told AutoblogGreen this morning that Chrysler is marketing this battery-only version of the van to commercial fleet customers who typically have shorter range requirements. The extended-range version will be focused on retail customers.
The initial batch of vehicles include a pair of right- and left-hand drive versions, and the total fleet will include a mix of both. The Postal Service will be using the vehicles for whatever applications they have in different regions of the country. The intent is to evaluate the usability of electric vans, as well as the interaction between the vehicles and the infrastructure. In addition to the USPS, ConEd, Duke Energy, DTE Energy and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will participate in the test program.
Related GalleryChrysler EV USPS mini-van
Chrysler Celebrates Earth Day by Revealing All-new Electric Minivan Concepts to U.S. Postal Service
* Chrysler exhibits flexibility of its electric vehicle portfolio with a new Chrysler minivan EV concept, targeted for postal delivery use
* Chrysler intends to submit an application under the U.S. Department of Energy's Transportation Electrification stimulus program for a federal grant that would enable a nationwide demonstration fleet with the United States Postal Service (USPS)
* Potential partnership with USPS to include infrastructure support from ConEd, Duke Energy, DTE Energy and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
Washington, D.C., Apr 22, 2009 -
Chrysler invented the minivan 25 years ago. More than 12 million minivan sales later, Chrysler today showed off four all-electric Chrysler Town & Country minivan concepts to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) as part of the USPS Earth Day celebration.
Chrysler LLC, in conjunction with the USPS and select energy service providers, also announced that the company intends to apply for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DoE) Transportation Electrification stimulus program for a federal grant, which would enable Chrysler to establish a nationwide demonstration fleet of zero-emission electric minivans that could be used by the U.S. Postal Service for mail delivery.
"With more than a 40 percent market share, our Chrysler and Dodge minivans continue to lead the segment we created more than 25 years ago," said Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President-Product Development, Chrysler LLC. "Our ENVI electric minivan concepts illustrate Chrysler's innovation with electric vehicle technology and show what the future could hold."
Chrysler's ENVI group leveraged the flexibility of its electric-vehicle strategy to demonstrate an all-electric version of its best-selling minivan. These electric minivan concepts are targeted specifically for use by the U.S. Postal Service for mail delivery.
"We continue to look for energy-efficient replacement vehicles for our aging fleet as we explore ways to reduce our transportation-related carbon emissions," said Sam Pulcrano, Vice President-Sustainability, U.S. Postal Service.
Because robust grid integration is essential for widespread customer acceptance of electric vehicles, Chrysler has enlisted the involvement of key utility partners, including Duke, ConEd and DTE. Each has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Chrysler to equip post offices in strategically selected regions of the United States with a charging infrastructure for the envisioned program. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) also has signed an LOI to provide USPS integration tools.
"Our partnership is structured to easily expand into additional regions of the country as the scope of the project increases," added Rhodes.
Earlier this month, Chrysler announced A123Systems as one of its strategic partners and production battery supplier for the company's initial production electric vehicles. Chrysler LLC and A123Systems signed an agreement stating that A123Systems will supply energy storage systems for Chrysler's first-generation ENVI Range-extended Electric Vehicles and battery-only Electric Vehicles. Based in Watertown, Massachusetts, A123Systems has announced plans for a Michigan-based production facility. A123Systems will manufacture Nanophosphate Lithium ion prismatic battery cells, modules and battery packs for Chrysler LLC. Advanced lithium-ion battery chemistry has the capability of meeting consumer demands for performance, driving range and durability.
A symbol that represents the first four letters of environment is Chrysler LLC's entrepreneurial in-house organization focused on electric-drive production vehicles and related advanced technologies. ENVI is a cross-functional, nimble team empowered to move quickly and access vast resources within Chrysler LLC in order to integrate electric-vehicle technology into existing products. ENVI-powered electric vehicles inspire a personal mobility revolution, creating a new generation of responsible, no-compromise Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep® vehicles.
Chrysler Minivan leadership
With more than 65 minivan-first innovations in 25 years, the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan pay homage to the more than 12 million minivans sold worldwide. With the segment's first and only Stow 'n Go seating and storage system, minivan-first Swivel 'n Go™ seat system that allows second-row passengers to swivel 180 degrees to face third-row passengers and segment-exclusive uconnect® studios providing satellite entertainment with family-fun programming-2009 Chrysler and Dodge minivans are the best family-friendly minivans, with more than 40 percent U.S. market share, the third-largest nameplate in Canada, unsurpassed 25 highway mile per gallon fuel economy and sales in more than 80 countries.
About Chrysler LLC
Chrysler LLC, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., produces Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Mopar® brand vehicles and products. Total sales worldwide in 2008 were 2 million vehicles. Outside of North America, 2008 was the second-best sales year in the last decade and the third-best ever for Chrysler International.
Chrysler LLC's product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300 and Town & Country, Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee and Dodge Challenger and Ram. Reinforcing a commitment to bring to market a broad array of advanced electric vehicles across all of its brands, Chrysler has introduced five electric-drive vehicle prototypes since the fall of 2008. At least one of these vehicles will be produced in 2010 for consumers in North American markets, followed by production for European markets.
The Chrysler Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, annually supports hundreds of charitable organizations in the United States and throughout the world. In 2008, the Foundation gave approximately $21 million in charitable donations.