Hopes to speed development of environmentally-friendly trucks like PHEV Ram

The plug-in hybrid Dodge Ram's development has been crawling along and kept quiet over the past few months, but now a bit of news has come through the wire. To push things along in the area of PHEV Rams and other future electric trucks, the Canadian government has awarded one of its local power company's, Electrovaya, a $5 million grant for the development of plug-in hybrid advanced energy storage systems. 

Chrysler announced development of the Dodge Ram PHEV in March 2010 as a result of the $48 million grant given to the automaker by the U.S. Department of Energy. The grant was part of a $2.4 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act DOE Vehicle Electrification program. The plan is to build 140 PHEV Ram's over the course of a three-year demonstration period in several parts of the United States.

The lithium-ion Superpolymer batteries for the test fleet of PHEV Rams will be supplied by Canadian-based Electrovaya. Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) provided the $5 million to the power company in hopes of speeding up the process of getting these vehicles to the streets. 

"Our government continues to invest in projects that reflect our balanced approach to reducing emissions," said the Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment. "This project will create high-quality jobs for Canadians now, and provide us with a healthier environment and sustainable prosperity in the future."

In particular, the money will be put toward the development of a higher throughput battery cell and module production line, the lifetime validation of battery packs to establish commercial value of spent battery packs and of course the development of advanced cells and battery modules themselves.

"High energy and power density batteries such as the ones being developed by Electrovaya are widely seen as the key to the commercialization of clean vehicles," said SDTC President and CEO Dr. Vicky Sharpe. "It is through funding during the pre-commercialization stages that Canada can lead the way in getting these technologies to the market faster and and benefit from an industry, which is poised for exponential growth in the next 10 years."

The $5 million is not only supporting batteries for the PHEV Ram, but for the development of other future PHEV trucks as well. The PHEV Ram is expected to receive 20 miles of pure electric power and will result in 65 percent better fuel economy than a gasoline-driven Ram. 

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