Chrysler presented four all-electric minivans as part of the Earth Day celebrations. It hopes to raise funding to supply a demonstration fleet of these for mail delivery use by the US Postal Service.
Chrysler's contribution to Earth Day was the unveiling of four all-electric minivan concepts. These vehicles are to form a major part of an application by Chrysler for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DoE) Transportation Electrification stimulus program for a federal grant. This would allow the automaker to set up a national demonstration fleet of these vehicles which could be used by the US Postal Service in their daily activities of mail delivery/collection.
"Chrysler and the Postal Service have an established relationship as there are more than 10,000 of our minivans in the Postal Service fleet," said Lou Rhodes, Vice President-Advance Vehicle Engineering and President of ENVI, Chrysler LLC. "The Postal Service is a recognised environmental innovator and leader, and we are excited at the prospect of continuing our relationship by working to deliver alternative energy postal delivery vehicles in the future."
The US Postal Service has also conceded that its current fleet is aging and that the organisation is looking at replacing it with a more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendlier batch.
The project goes beyond just providing vehicles for the USPS however. It also recognises that recharging these minivans will require much better infrastructure than exists at the moment. Therefore key utility partners were sought and involved. They include Duke, ConEd and DTE, each of who have signed a letter of intent with Chrysler to provide charging infrastructure to post offices in selected regions of the country. Eventually these stations could be used as part of a future nationwide electric vehicle recharging grid.