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MBTA, Chrysler partner to test Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Joined by State, City and Local officials, MBTA Acting General Manager Jon Davis announced the T’s participation in a 3 – year American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funded demonstration project to test 10 Ram plug – in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs).  In collaboration with Chrysler Group, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the MBTA will test these vehicles system-wide in maintenance fleets and report regularly to Chrysler on the driving and charging experiences.

Commenting on the Patrick/Murray Administration’s commitment to becoming a leader in “greening” the state transportation system, MassDOT Secretary and CEO Rich Davey said, “Participating in this project is an excellent opportunity to emphasize MassDOT’s GreenDOT policy directed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting healthy transportation.”

Chrysler Group has been selected for a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant of up to $48 million as part of a $2.4 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) DOE Vehicle Electrification program. Chrysler Group is planning to build a total of 140 Ram plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) for the demonstration project that includes various geographic and climatic locations across the United States.

Thrilled to have been selected to test these vehicles, MBTA Acting General Manager Jon Davis stated, “We are underway with a 3 – year educational opportunity to better understand the benefits of advanced technology and the importance of supporting smart energy saving investments.”

"The Recovery Act's focus on energy efficiency projects like the plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles that the MBTA is participating in, will have a long lasting impact on the country's ability to increase its use of products like these vehicles, which are more cost efficient, less harmful to the environment and reduce our dependency on foreign oil," said Jeffrey Simon, Director of the Massachusetts Recovery & Reinvestment Office.
“Through this federal, state and private partnership, our transportation vehicles will set an example to for adopting this new clean technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves energy and lowers costs,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. “This generous award complements our ongoing clean energy efforts including a project to install 142 electric car charging stations in communities and at transportation hubs across the Commonwealth this fall.”

“The City of Boston is proud to be home to this innovation partnership between the MBTA and the Chrysler Group to bring more electric vehicles to our streets and ultra-low emissions service to our neighborhoods.  I commend the MBTA for taking up this exciting project, and for working to make our city greener, healthier, and more sustainable.”

“Cities have been carefully selected to help the Chrysler Group LLC collect a wide range of data,” explained Abdullah Bazzi, senior manager of Chrysler’s advanced hybrid vehicle project.  “Boston offers heavy traffic and urban driving that are ideal city test cycles along and rural areas that include inclines on mountain grades. The constant charging will allow us to measure the impact on battery life and charging efficiency.”
In addition to the T’s participation in the project, National Grid has been selected and will receive 4 Ram plug – in Hybrid Electric Vehicles to test.   "For National Grid, this collaboration with Chrysler and DOE represents an exciting next step toward making alternative fuel vehicles a part of the energy solutions landscape for our customers," said Terence Sobolewski, National Grid vice president of Sales and Program Operations. "This demonstration fleet offers a unique opportunity for us and MBTA to provide constructive, real-time feedback on the use of PHEV technologies. More broadly, programs like this help pave the way for customers to reduce their carbon emissions and protect the environment for generations to come.”

The PHEV Ram 1500 pickups are part of a national demonstration fleet of 140 vehicles that will be used during the next three years to evaluate customer usage, drive cycles, charging, thermal management, fuel economy, emissions and impact on the region’s electric grid. In addition to the MBTA, eight other partners across the United States are slated to receive vehicles for demonstration and testing purposes.

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Lydia Rivera