Skip to main content

Chrysler stops plug-in hybrid testing after batteries overheat

Chrysler plug-in hybrid test vehiclesOverheating battery packs have put a stop to Chrysler’s plug-in hybrid test program. All 132 vehicles in the company’s test fleet have been recalled until modifications to the packs can be made.

Three Ram pickup trucks were damaged when their 12.9-kWh lithium ion battery packs overheated, although Chrysler did not say what specific damage there was or why the battery packs overheated in the first place.

No one was injured; Chrysler said the vehicles were unoccupied when their batteries went nuclear.

Get your weekly teardown of the tech behind PC gaming
Check your inbox!

Chrysler’s fleet of 109 Ram 1500 trucks and 23 Chrysler Town & Country minivans has logged 1.3 million miles in testing without incident up to this point. Chrysler says the trucks have averaged 37.4 mpg so far, while the minivans have averaged a Prius-beating 55.0 mpg.

Both vehicles operate with a two-mode hybrid system that works in concert with their stock gasoline engines, a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 for the Ram, and a 3.6-liter V6 for the Town & Country. Combined range is 655 miles for the truck, and 700 miles for the minivan.

Both vehicles’ battery packs are liquid cooled, and lithium ion batteries are the current standard for plug-in vehicles. Although both the Chevrolet Volt and Fisker Karma have been hit with battery fire scares, their batteries were found to be safe and stable.

Chrysler will adjust the batteries’ chemistry to correct the problem, install new battery packs in its fleet, and continue testing.

One unusual aspect of Chrysler’s plug-in design is its ability to recharge the power grid. In theory, owners would be able to use their cars to generate electricity and then sell the excess back to the power company. Toyota is testing a similar scheme, which uses a Prius to provide emergency power to homes, in Japan.

Chrysler’s ultimate goal is to sell plug-in hybrid vehicles to fleet buyers. There was discussion of selling the Ram plug-in to individual consumers, but that plan appears to have been shelved.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
The 4 best pressure washers for cars in 2024
A man washes his truck with the Westinghouse ePX3100v Electric Pressure Washer.

Whether you do your driving with an off-road vehicle, one of the most impressive EVs on the road, or anything in between, the driving experience can be made all the better by knowing you look good doing so. Keeping your vehicle clean isn’t always the easiest chore, nor is it something everyone likes to do. You can make shorter work of it with a pressure washer, and with warmer weather around the corner we decided to round up the best pressure washers for cars in 2024.
The best pressure washers for cars in 2024

Buy the

Read more
The 4 best portable jump starters for cars in 2024
The Clore Jump-N-Carry JNC660 portable jump starter connected to a truck battery.

A proper backup situation is good to have around any time you hit the road, and something to keep in the trunk alongside one of the best portable tire inflators is a portable jump starter. You never know when cold weather, inadvertently leaving the dome light on, or plain old Father Time can leave you with a dead battery. Ensuring you have one of the best portable jump starters can save you in just such a jam, which is why we’ve rounded up what we feel are the best portable jump starters in 2024.
The best portable jump starters in 2024

Buy the

Read more
The 5 best front and rear dash cams for cars in 2024
The Nextbase iQ 4K Dash Cam installed in a vehicle.

Give yourself peace of mind by installing a front and rear dash cam in your car. Compared to dash cams that only have a front-facing camera, a front and rear dash cam will also record everything that happens behind your vehicle, which will be helpful in determining who's at fault when there's a rear-end collision. With front and rear dash cams coming in various models and made by different brands, it's going to be hard to choose what to equip your car with, so to help with your decision, we've listed the best front and rear dash cams below.
The best front and rear dash cams in 2024

Buy the

Read more