Chrysler Recalls PHEV Rams and Minivans

Ram PHEV side 2 II

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.

Ram PHEV RamBox plugs II


Nothing new...Every company with hybrids had fire issues...

We dont need Electric Vehicles !!!

Drill for oil we have enough for centuries and the world is not in a climate crisis..Man made Global Warming is a hoax and its all for money,big tax grab that will ensure we have no vehicles to limit our travel so they can better control us !!!



@J.C.: You certainly don't live up to your initials, guy. First you jump to conclusions (please tell me where this article or any other report claimed these had fire issues), then you claim we don't need electrics--that we have enough oil to last for centuries when every available report shows that we've almost exhausted the Earth's oil reserves in barely over ONE century. Oh, we've got enough coal to maybe last another 150 years or so--assuming it isn't all burned away like that Pennsylvania coal mine fire in Centralia that's been burning for how long now?

We do need an alternative and one way or another electric is going to be a major part of it, either through fuel cell technologies, solar or some other storage technology. Fossil fuels are going to turn mankind into fossils far too soon if we don't.

As far as fire safety, keep in mind that gasoline and diesel fuel are far more volatile than batteries and you hear of far more car fires than electrical ones; in fact car fires are so common that they don't even warrant a note in the newspapers any more unless they really get out of hand.

ditto DWFields,

Knee jerk reactions from....well......a jerk doesn’t help anybody. At the time everyone thought the horseless carriage was the most asinine idea ever put forth and look where we are today. It takes innovators and early adopters in order to get technology advanced but advance it does and almost always to the betterment of society as a whole.

These early versions of PHEV's and EV's aren't for everyone and that isn't the point. They fill a niche very well and will help bring about the bigger changes needed for the technology to proliferate.

Let the bash fest of the green, liberal, worthless, commie, city slicker begin 3..2..1....

Overheating doesn't necessarily mean fire unless it is a Ford (according to Rambo V8)

@ J.C. Dude, the sky is failing, duck! :D

Well thats not a big problem as these trucks were just TEST VEHICLES,not sold to the public.Not a story..move on.

How many of these have they sold?

It would be nice to have some more details.

This is what other sites are saying,
"Three of the PHEV fleet’s 109 pickups has sustained damage during testing when their prototype 12.9-kWh batteries overheated. Thankfully no injuries related to the incidents were reported, as they occurred while the vehicles were unoccupied"

What kind of damage?

@Frank - they haven't sold any. They are part of their test fleet.
It is bad PR for Chrysler.

@DWFields and mhowarth
I think alot of people on this site believe that oil is infinite. Even the oil that is left will cost considerable sums to bring onto the market. Cheap energy is from yesteryear, get used to it.

People should read up on theories of how the inhabitants of Easter Island disappeared. Incredible story of human stupidity and greed, but some types of attitudes don't change.

You have a point regarding more information. Everyone who has had RCs have had batteries overheat when using or recharging.

If the vehicles had no occupants then they could have been recharging or a 10c component failed, I've seen worse in my job. This will keep rocket scientist employed.

Looks like our knee jerky JC was correct to some degree (cough, hack, cough).
MSN auto had this to say:
"Battery fires have broken out on three prototype Ram hybrid pickup trucks, a problem that forced Chrysler to pull its entire test fleet of plug-in hybrids from the road.

The automaker, which had been loaning 109 plug-in hybrid Rams to municipalities and utilities since last year, said it would perform a battery upgrade on all the trucks, including 23 plug-in hybrid Town & Country minivans also in the test program. Utility fleet managers in Colorado, Michigan, and Utah reported the fires over the past seven months during which the trucks were parked and shut off, Chrysler said. While some parts of the interior were damaged, no injuries were reported and the vehicles remained in operating condition. No problems with the plug-in minivans, which were introduced in April, have been reported."

Looks like the Rambo Motard Goat Herder's Association will have to eat some crow or cooked goat or maybe warm goat's milk because of those fires. LOL
Did they have fire insurance?

37 mpg out of a pickup is impressive but how does that translate to cost per mile when one factors in the cost of the system and the cost of charging the batteries.

JC, you do not know what you are talking about! Get the facts first before you comment on a subject you know nothing about.

Even when all of the bugs are ironed out of these hybrids a premium will have to be paid for the systems that they are required to use. They will have 2 independent systems that are interfaced, it will cost to manufacture and develop. They will always have a considerable expense over current gasoline technology.

This will add a considerable cost to existing ideas on what a pickup is and its performance.

I just hope that the poor owners didn't somehow defraud their lender and dropped full coverage insurance...

@Big Al from Oz - Easer Island? Is that where the Easter Bunny comes from? ;)
I think that these systems do need to be developed but it would be more cost effective in the short term to maximize the efficiency of internal combustion engines. That would mean diesel instead of gas engines and the demise of the V8 as we know it.
I can see the Hemi guys now - bragging about Hemi V6's and inline 4's.

@Lou yes yes my hemi v6 broke the speed of smell before ford and gm v6s the hemi v6 rules! :)

The inhabitants of Easter Island consumed every resource on the island and ended up eating each other. The island is treeless now when apparently it was heavily forested. Hey, but every home probably wanted the biggest fireplace.

I will apologise on my fight about diesels vs gas. I will reduce my comments. Especially "debating" tooth and nail.

But in the medium term is diesel as the anwer :)

Some debate me on the virtues of a mid size diesel, but I think it would be a cheaper alternative then hybrid pickups.

But, they have to continue on with this type of research.

Irrespective of what company, country etc there will always be hiccups in R&D.

Fiat has developed a sophisticated turbo 500cc, 2cylinder engine that is supposed to be the "ducks gut" of gasoline engine technology. They might be producing a better engine than the Ford Eco Boost.

This is what is good about capitalism, innovation and competition.

Maybe that could be in the new Rams :)

Remember how Ford was talking about putting a 4cyl Ecoboost in the F150? Yea, I fully expect to see stuff like that in the not-so-distant future.

Hybrids and turbos are just the start of it. With the way fuel prices and emissions regulations are changing they're going to have to make some major fundamental changes to trucks as we know them.

It's simply inevitable, unless of course, they happen to find some magical technological breakthrough that leads to major fuel economy increases, while heavily decreasing emissions.

The Ford Falcon we have over here uses a 2.0 litre Eco Boost. The car is a large family car and still runs 4.0 litre six, 5.4 V8 and a turbo 4.0 litre six. The 2.0 litre Eco Boost is putting out 157kw or 210hp and I think around 380nm of torque (300ftlb). We have 2.2 litre diesel putting out that kind of horsepower and over 400ftlb or torque in heavier vehicles that are shaped like a brick returnning high twenties for fuel economy.

It has improved fuel economy but still uses around 9.0 litres per hundred (urban/country). It's acceleration has dropped. I think the cars come in around 1 700kg (3 600lbs).

Considering the aerodynamics of the Falcon is far superior to the F-150 and weighs less at the moment the F-150 would be using near 11L per 100km or about 23mpg (the way we measure fuel economy).

Remember to lighten the F-150 will cost money.

I'll dig up a review of the Eco Boost Falcon.

@Big Al - A 2 stroke in theory can develop more power due to a power stroke coming every 2nd revolution. I wonder how they effectively worked out the scavenging of exhaust gases etc? DI would make it a much cleaner engine than the 2 strokes I'm used to using. Detroit Diesel "Screamin' Jimmy's" were 2 stroke. They needed forced induction to work well.

Easter Island is a perfect metaphor for current mainstream USA ideology.

Here is the link to a review on the 4cyl eco boost Falcon. At the bottom of the review are comparable alternative vehicles. Have a look at the Peugot 508 2.2 diesel from France. Pay attention to its fuel economy and CO2 emissions. Surprising stuff, you can see how competitive our market is.

My data isn't accurate on hp and torque. It has 30 more hp and 30nm less torque than I wrote.

I think I read that the Fiat engine has valves and not just ports. I will read into it further.

Here is an article on the Fiat engine. In a 500 it's achieving 57mpg or 4.1 litres per 100km.

Have a read of the italic text, it a bit more interesting and longish.

@Big Al from Oz . We had the 4 Litre turbo Barra detuned to have 365hp and 380lbs ft of torque in the Territory. It was similar to the Ecoboost but it did not have the fuel economy of the 2.7 ex LR Diesel.

sad when you have to get a fireman from italy to put out a fiat fire.

JUNK JUNK BEAT GM YEA RIGHT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ok, let's take a look at some of our American conceit:

* Bigger trucks with smaller engines carry heavier loads almost everywhere else in the world over much worse roads in many of those countries.
* Smaller trucks with much smaller engines carry equivalent loads almost everywhere else in the world over much worse roads in many of those countries.

Logical conclusions:
* Americans do not need trucks the size of Texas to carry their wife and 2.5 kids around and little else.
* Americans do not need gigantic gas-burning engines that could power commercial aircraft around to carry a load of dirt, hay, mulch, building materials, papers and other contractor-grade materials. Smaller iesel engines can do it better, if not as quickly.
* Americans need to learn how to drive. Skillful driving can get you past or through obstacles that will stall even the fastest, most powerful rig driven poorly. I've don't things in an I-6, 94hp, one-wheel-drive car that have amazed even people with lifted, wheeled and over-horsed Jeep V-8s--to the point of being a rescue vehicle for one of those same Jeeps when I was a teenager. The car? A 1963 Chevy II Nova sedan--on 13" wheels.

Don't see what the big deal is here, this is simply a test fleet designed to find out these kind of issues before something like this is actually made available to the public. Kudos to Chrysler for doing this rather than just rushing it to market and letting the paying public do the testing for them.

Anyone see the Jalopnik review of the new Audi diesel with twin turbos yesterday? Nothing new about having two spools but the smaller one is driven by a micro electric motor so it has full boost at idle and the big turbo can take over the mid and higher RPM duties.

3 liters and 306 hp and 479 lbs of torque. That is a lot of power, improved quickness with quite literally no turbo lag and in a smaller sized diesel will get really good mpg's. Tech like this could make it worthwhile to pay $2500 for a smaller diesel in a truck. That power level with effectviely a flat torque curve from idle would allow pretty much all 1/2 tons and 3/4 tons to move their entire respective towing capacity easily.

The BMW tri-turbo diesel still puts out more power but having the torque from idle is ideal for a truck application. Under partial or no load (like most daily driving) these should put out good mileage that may justify the higher fuel price of diesel (in the US market anyway)

@Big Al from Oz- Thanks for the link on the 2 stroke Fiat. Impressive little engine
@MHowarth - Europeans seem to have a definite edge on us(US) when it comes to engine tech. There are those who brag about our engines but they only seem to lead in displacement and inefficiency.

@ lou

No kidding on the engine tech, but they also have cleaner/better fuel standards. Mercedes has already stated that their best (and current) engine tech will not be coming to the US because our dirty fuels would damage the engines.

Hell for comparison the ZR-1 Corvette and the Ferrari F12 both have 6.3 liter motors and are the top run cars currently made by their respective automaker. The ZR-1 is supercharged and makes about 101hp/L or 638 HP. Pretty good. The Ferrari has 740 hp or 117.5 hp/L but it doesn't have forced induction. Going off the Corvette example from the base 6.3 to the supercharged one they get a bump of 32.75 hp/L. Using this math an equal Ferrari motor with a supercharger like the ZR-1 would produce 946 hp or 150 hp/L. If we use percentage increase on the Ferrari motor (arguably the more precise measure) then it would produce 1095 hp or 173.8 hp/L

Which is more refined/efficient/superior? (expecting to be thoroughly flammed for this post)

@mhowarth We like the US have high sulphur fuels, although our diesel meets the 10ppm standard for European diesels. It is more a refinery issue in the US.

@DWFields Trying to sell a smaller but more capable diesel to the public will go up against the "manly" power of a larger, but ironically less capable V8.


Its hard to compare N/A and F/I motors. The ferrari makes the horsepower by RPM. The Chevy makes horsepower by torque.

Since you are into these stupid bench racing what if games, lets replace the supercharger with a turbo :)

@Robert Ryan

I assume you mean gas vs diesel, not just V8--there are obviously diesel V8s

I think it is much more complicated than manliness in the US. I would even say that many pickup owners consider a diesel burly, but not an extra $7000 burley when:
I would venture to guess that a gasoline V8 is cheaper to build, certainly cheaper to buy, just as capable (if not more so in some cases), simpler to work on (I have had a number of turbo vehicles), gas is cheaper, and due to technological advances (and strangling EPA regs), the gas motors acheive nearly the same MPG.

That all being said, since I live at 6500' and do all of my driving between 5000-10,000', I would have ponied up the extra cash had Toyota offered a diesel in my Tundra that they use in the LC200--which shares the same basic platform and many parts.

I don't know if you remember the original mini trucks of the 70s like the Datsun 520/620 and Chev Luv etc. This engine has about the same hp but more torque than them.

Fiat/Chrysler could build a mini truck with this engine and give over 45mpg. Imagine that.

@Ryan - correct. Hard to compare cutting edge technology to what is available in NA.
That is like comparing a Harley V-Twin to a KTM V-Twin.
Funny. For once a Chevy engine can be bragged up for making horsepower by torque and not RPM. LOL
The new Boss 302 Mustang produces peak HP around 8,500 RPM like the Ferrari. The ironic thing is that when Ford developed the Boss 302 the benchmark was the BMW M3 not a USA based car.
USA cars have been panned for decades by the European press for poor handling. The Viper was notorious for being unpredictable in corners. The Corvette used to be viewed as a "muscle car" which translates to meaning it was good in a straight line only. They didn't have much good to say about most of our muscle/pony cars.

@Big Al from Oz - I do remember them but never was around them. My dad was in heavy industry so always had a 3/4 ton truck and was used as such - unlike today where they are mostly big toys on wheels.

You really can't compare your engine technology to the Europeans or Asians for that matter.

The Europeans are 20 years in front of the US in engine technology. The Big 3 has languished in the automotive industry.

I don't know why some of you guys keep on raising the HD diesel engines prices. If you wanted to build a 1/2 ton diesel you would be looking at a 3.0 litre diesel. Which will cost a little more than a V6 petrol engine. You don't need a near on 7 litre diesel to move a small vehicle

@Big Al from Oz

I drive a Tundra--I think the 5.7L is a pretty advanced engine. What from Europe is so much better at the price point?

All of the European diesels available here are in ridiculously expensive vehciles--I presume partially due to the cost of the engine.

On the Toyota Australia website, the diesel option for a LC200 is $5000 more than the petrol V8. On Ford's, the Ranger diesel starts at $5000 more as well.

@Dav - European SUV's currently on the market in the USA have roughly 3,500 dollars as a price premium for a 3-4 Litre diesel. Performance specs aren't much different from their gas counterparts with roughly 20% better mpg. That would be enough to provide an appropriate break even point on the cost of the diesel engine.

If the fuel quality issue can be overcome and the premium can be reduced(probably using current European sourced units) THEN diesels ,I would expect would be become more common in NA

I really haven't looked at European SUVs, but the first one I just looked at--and Audi Q7--the diesel version started ~$5000 more. For a BMW X5, it is nearly $10,000 more. Maybe some other brands aren't as bad--but there aren't many brands left to choose from.

I don't know about your location, but diesel here is ~20% more than gasoline--which negates the 20% increase in MPG.

I just had a recent "discussion" with a fellow contributor on this site regarding the same "argument".

The VW Tiguan in diesel form is $1 500 more than the gas equivalent. Both engines are four cylinder engines of 2.0 litres.

I do know from my personal experience in Australia the 4 cylinder 3.0 litre diesels are exactly the same price as a V6 gas engine.

The 3.0 litre V6 Euro diesels are more expensive, but they are producing a significant power advantage over the 4 cylinder commercially applied diesels.

The 4 cylinder "commercial' diesel in our mid sizers are anything from 150-200hp and from 280-350ftlb of torque. Most of our mid size diesels are almost a"previous generation" diesel. They seem to be producing figures that the Europeans were producing a decade ago. But as emission controls tighten I think we will have to pay a premium for the better Euro style diesels.

The 3.0 litre V6 eurodiesels (including the Ford Lion 3.0V6) in our mid sizers and SUVs are generally from 220-250hp and all are 400-430ftlb of torque. These are about the price of a V8.

In the Grand Cherokee a V6 diesel is the same price as a 5.7 Hemi.

The biggest difference is fuel economy. A 2wd mid size diesel are getting 32mpg mixed driving, (urban/country). In a 4x4 dual cab like my BT50 is getting now about 30mpg, but I live in an area of open roads.

I did a fuel economy test on my Mazda the other day. Driving at 73mph I was returning about 8 litres per 100km or a bit over 2 gallons every 62 miles.

We recieve the same Toyota V8 here, and they are not very economical. In a Landcruiser Wagon they are returning 16.8 litres per 100km or about 15mpg.

European vehicles are more expensive because of the build quality and technology in them. Not just th engines. There chassis/suspension performance, braking is very good as a rule.

The Germans, French and Italians seem to be developing the best diesels at the moment. Toyota is pairing up with BMW to share its diesel technology. Kia's new range of diesels were designed in Germany. Chryslers new VM diesels come from Italy and Nissan's V6 diesel is from Renault in France.

I go to the States quite frequently and I haven't seen a difference of 20% for diesel. On the east coast where I go it was 25c per gallon difference, when gas was at 2.89 a gallon. Maybe you should move.

Have a look at how the "same" vehicle is optioned up for he diesel vehicle. We have gas and diesel power for the same vehicles and they are more expensve, but they are top of range vehicles. Also I do know some Euro manufacturers will drop a significantly more powerful diesel in lieu of the gas engine.

I found this interesting article from the Canadian "Globe and Mail". Smaller diesels seem to be much more acceptable in Canada.
They do feel that diesels will make gradual inroads into the USA market as well but probably not a great as Canada. So much for the argument that gas engines are better for cold climates ;)
I'd rather fork out 3-5k for a small diesel that 5-10k for a hybrid. I'd trust a diesel in -40C weather before batteries.

Hopefully VW will release the Amarok in Canada like they have been talking about.

@Big Al from Oz - I'd like to see that. VW has a good reputation for diesels but not gassers.

Damn Crying Shame Really! Pulling out already is suspect to me.

I will tell you this.. there are very powerful and influential forces out there that don't want to see any more EV testing go on. The US could have had an infrastructure to support EV 20 years ago - but big Oil and other Coalitions have derailed every effort. It's huge politics and total BS.

37mpg Ram??? My 2010 Hemi Quad with MDS is doing 11mpg and those kinda savings pay the truck.

If The Chinese produce a viable EV it will come with instructions on how to safely surrender.

The NA automotive industry can become more competitive, that will alliviate some of your current issues. There is no conspiracy.

Don't be scared of the Chinese. I have bought many Chinese products like most readers on this site and no-where did I see any documentation regarding surrender.

The Japanese had the same effect in the 60s and 70s. I remember people making comments on who won the war etc.

So, chill out.

The US couldn't have had efficient EV technology 20 years ago or this would have occurred. The biggest issue with EV is the storage of electrical energy. I don't think EV will dominate the automotive industry for some time.

Like most engineering problems to overcome materials technology is holding us back.

Also, the cost of producing a full size pickup that returns 37mpg would be staggering. It would not pay for itself over the life of the vehicle.

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