Chrysler is recalling 109 plug-in hybrid versions of the Ram 1500 and 23 minivans out of its working test fleet because three of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles had trouble with their lithium-ion battery cooling systems.
According to Reuters, a Chrysler spokesman said the company doesn't know how long the vehicles will be sidelined, but it plans to provide an upgraded and improved battery pack. Unfortunately, the vehicles and their test cycles will not be extended beyond 2014 as originally planned.
Chrysler reports that the 132 trucks have accumulated 1.3 million miles, averaging almost 10,000 miles per truck. Fuel-economy test results have the average PHEV minivan getting about 55 mpg, while Ram pickups achieved, as a group, better than 37 mpg.
The experimental Ram 1500s went into service last year all around the country to private companies and public municipalities, where their work duty included extremes in elevation (Colorado) and heat (Arizona). Chrysler noted that many of the test vehicles were used for their energy-producing capabilities, allowing for seamless work to be done to power grids without disrupting service to customers.
Chrysler is the first truck maker to produce these types of powerful electricity-producing hybrid vehicles (although it seems like nowadays every pickup truck offers a small inverter and at least a 150- or 400-watt plug), though companies like Via Motors (GM pickups) and Quantum Tech (Ford F-150s) are also making strong inroads with various customers in the sales of their own PHEV.