OK, so these really may be the world's coolest minivans.

Chrysler has deployed four plug-in hybrid-electric Town & Country minivans to the city of Auburn Hills, MI as part of a $26-million demonstration project. Chrylser says it plans for each minivan to rack up 16,800 miles during the two-year program. In all, Chrysler will make 25 minivan plug-ins and spend $15.8 million on the project, with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) chipping in another $10 million. No word on if or when the plug-in minivans will be sold to the public.

Last year, Chrysler started deploying the first of 140 Ram plug-in hybrid-electric pickup trucks as a way for the automaker and the U.S. government to explore more fuel-efficient alternatives for gas-guzzling trucks. Chrysler and the DOE split the $97 million bill on that project as well.
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City of Auburn Hills Receives Four Plug-in Hybrid Chrysler Town & Country Minivans from Chrysler Group LLC as Part of Two-Year Demonstration Project
April 12, 2012 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The City of Auburn Hills, a dynamic community committed to innovation and growth, took delivery today of four Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Chrysler Town & Country minivans from Chrysler Group LLC as part of a two-year demonstration project that is a partnership between Chrysler Group and the U.S. Department of Energy. Chrysler is investing $15.8 million into the project and the U.S. Department of Energy is contributing $10 million. Only 25 test vehicles will be created, according to Abdullah A. Bazzi, Senior Manager of Electrified Power Train Programs for Chrysler Group.

"This Town & Country minivan is the only minivan to boast a plug-in hybrid powertrain in combination with flex fuel capability," says Bazzi. "We're pleased to have four of these 25 vehicles being tested right here in Chrysler's backyard where they can get real-world use and be evaluated promptly."

Auburn Hills will use the Chrysler-owned vehicles for testing purposes to evaluate everyday city and highway driving. Staff selected to evaluate the vehicles will regularly report all driving and charging experiences back to Chrysler. City Manager Pete Auger says it is an honor for the City to participate in this demonstration project.

"Chrysler has been an outstanding corporate citizen of Auburn Hills and we are privileged to be participating in the evaluation of these vehicles," says Auger.

As part of the program, each vehicle will receive one Level II EVSE charging station, which will be installed at the Civic Center Campus on North Squirrel and the Auburn Hills Department of Public Services Building on Brown Road. Installation costs for the charging stations will be borne by the City and will remain at the City following project completion.

The agreement between Chrysler Group and the City anticipates approximately 16,800 miles will be driven on each demonstration vehicle. Routine maintenance such as oil changes will be the responsibility of the City. Chrysler will be responsible for any repairs that may be required as part of the testing process. Auger notes that employees assigned the vehicles have been recognized for their outstanding work efforts.

"When you see these specially marked Chrysler minivans on the road, you can be assured that they are being driven by City of Auburn Hills employees who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to their jobs, the residents and the entire Auburn Hills community," affirms Auger.

In July 2011, Auburn Hills became the first municipality in Michigan to adopt an electric vehicle infrastructure ordinance to facilitate the installation of electric vehicle charging stations. The ordinance sets the stage for the City to become a leader in incorporating electric vehicles into its community and economic development plans. In October 2011, Chrysler Group LLC delivered four PHEV Ram 1500 pickup trucks to the City of Auburn Hills as part of a national, three year demonstration program for evaluation and testing of the trucks by the City's Community Development, Police and Public Services Departments.

About Auburn Hills
Auburn Hills, a dynamic community committed to innovation and growth, is home to 21,000 residents and also serves as Michigan's global business address, with 40 international corporations from 32 countries housed here, including Chrysler Group LLC and Borg Warner headquarters. Auburn Hills' residents enjoy the amenities of city and suburban living with parks, a revitalized downtown district and a welcoming city complex with a library and community center. Additionally, the city has five colleges and universities, the award winning Palace of Auburn Hills entertainment complex and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, one of the state's largest destination shopping centers, providing a variety of cultural, social and educational opportunities to residents, workers and visitors. Learn more at
www.auburnhills.org.

About Chrysler Group LLC
Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 to establish a global strategic alliance with Fiat S.p.A., produces Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Mopar, SRT and Fiat vehicles and products. With the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete on a global scale, the alliance builds on Chrysler Group's culture of innovation, first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925, and Fiat's complementary technology that dates back to its founding in 1899.

Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler Group's product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300 and Town & Country, Jeep Wrangler, all-new Dodge Dart, Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 and Fiat 500. Fiat contributes world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small- and medium-size cars, allowing Chrysler Group to offer an expanded product line including environmentally friendly vehicles. www.chryslergroupllc.com