Chrysler is temporarily taking its test fleet of plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs) out of service to conduct a battery-pack upgrade. Michael Duhaime, head of electric powertrain systems, said the action was being taken to focus resources on a better battery. Three of the 109 pickups in the fleet were damaged when their batteries overheated. There were no injuries, and the incidents occurred when the vehicles were unoccupied. While none of the similarly equipped minivans were affected, they are also having battery upgrades, which will use a different battery chemistry. The projects are jointly funded by Chrysler Group and the U.S. Department of Energy. The next phase of testing focuses on grid interaction and safety. Some vehicles may not be returned to service, depending on the complexity of the upgrades. The PHEVs were being evaluated for durability by 16 municipalities and utility companies across 20 states. They had accumulated more..
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