DOE/Chrysler PHEV Pickup Project (August 2011)

The PH&EV Research Center at the University of California, Davis (UCD) is working with Chrysler and the City of San Francisco to test and demonstrate a new PHEV design. The Center will assist the City of San Francisco in finding suitable fleet applications for 14 Chrysler Ram 1500 PHEV demonstration vehicles.  Information about the PHEV deployments, including user impressions, will be collected from drivers and fleet managers through interviews, surveys, and focus groups. Instrumentation onboard the vehicles will be used to collect detailed data for analyzing vehicle performance, charging activities and driver behavior.  Based on these field observations under real-world driving conditions, the Center will assess the value of specific PHEV attributes such as in-field auxiliary power (and the potential for supplanting portable generators), human-machine interface (HMI) feedback, cost savings, environmental benefits and overall vehicle utility. Charging logistics and charging infrastructure needs will also be evaluated. The vehicles will be assigned to different drivers and various applications over the three year demonstration period.

UCD is just one of many partners in a much larger project that involves a total of 140 Chrysler PHEV pickups being deployed in diverse climate and geographic regions throughout the U.S. over a three year period. This project is principally funded by the U.S. Department of Energy with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Issues to be addressed through this research include:

  • What fleet vehicle duty cycles and usage patterns are most conducive to optimizing the utility and functionality of an advanced-technology PHEV pickup?
  • What factors most influence the wide-scale acceptance of PHEVs in fleet operations?
  • How do institutional and cultural perceptions shape fleet PHEV purchase and use decisions?
  • What fleet practices optimize the use and benefits of PHEVs?
  • How do fleets value and use non-motive energy while in the field or in emergency situations (e.g., energy accessed by plugging equipment directly into the PHEV receptacle)?
  • Where, when and how often will fleets charge a PHEV? Where would they like to see chargers located? Can charger placement determinations be optimized using GIS modeling techniques?
  • How and to what extent do fleet vehicle drivers use the HMI display? How can HMI technology be improved through better data feedback selection and improved display designs?

Here are some photos of the Kick-Off Meeting that happened in San Francisco in August of 2011.