DaimlerChrysler Expands Concept Plug-in Hybrid Program

- Next-generation plug-in hybrid concept will be built on the all

- new 2007 Dodge Sprinter platform

- DaimlerChrysler is the only automaker to test plug-in hybrid technology

in the United States with customers

- Lithium-ion battery research will accelerate future hybrid development

- Dodge Sprinter Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) can drive up to 20

miles on electric-only power

- Industry first: PHEV combined with diesel for maximum fuel efficiency

Mar 27, 2007, 01:00 ET from DaimlerChrysler

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich., March 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In a display of
 commitment to the development of hybrid powertrain architecture and
 advanced batteries, DaimlerChrysler is expanding its concept plug-in hybrid
 program to include the all-new 2007 Dodge Sprinter.
     Up to 20 Dodge Sprinter Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) will be
 placed in the United States between now and the first quarter of 2008 as
 part of a test-fleet program. Four of the vehicles, built on the previous-
 generation Dodge Sprinter, already are in operation with customers.
 DaimlerChrysler is the only auto manufacturer currently evaluating a
 variety of plug-in hybrid powertrain (diesel and gas) configurations in
 real-world, customer-operation service within the United States.
     Battery development is one of the keys to the success of hybrid and
 fuel- cell transportation. Lithium-ion holds the greatest promise for
 battery technology. A number of the Dodge Sprinter PHEVs will be equipped
 with lithium-ion batteries that are about half the weight and have much
 greater storage capacities when compared with nickel-metal hydride
 batteries. The vehicles will yield technical information through real-world
 driving conditions about lifetime, performance and cost of batteries.
     "For plug-in hybrid technology to move forward, a dramatic leap in
 battery technology is necessary," said Mark Chernoby, Vice President -
 Advance Vehicle Engineering, Chrysler Group. "The energy storage systems in
 the Dodge Sprinter PHEV concept fleet will provide valuable field
 experience on the possibilities with lithium-ion battery technology."
     Plug-in technology lends itself to commercial applications where the
 vehicle returns to base after each shift to be plugged into the power grid.
 In short stop-and-go routes, the vehicle will use very little fuel.
     The Dodge Sprinter PHEV has the ability to drive up to 20 miles on
 electric-only power. It accomplishes this with a switch on the dashboard
 giving the operator the ability to manually switch between modes as needed,
 or automatically by the vehicle control system. Two different combustion
 engines are being offered in the Dodge Sprinter PHEV -- diesel or gasoline.
 The diesel version will yield the highest fuel economy benefit and is the
 first fleet test of a diesel plug-in hybrid system.
     Plug-in hybrid technology is part of DaimlerChrysler's advanced
 propulsion technology umbrella that also includes exceptionally efficient
 gasoline engines, advanced diesel technology, ethanol flex-fuel and
 zero-emission fuel cell vehicles.

SOURCE DaimlerChrysler