In a bid to convince Washington of the company's continued existence and green credentials, Chrysler today showed a pair of electric Town & Country minivans in blue and white Postal Service regalia.
The minivan's lithium-ion batteries are manufactured by A123 Systems of Watertown, which famously lost the bid to Korea's LG Chem to provide batteries for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Paired with a 200 kW motor (268 horsepower), the T&C is good for 50 miles. Weight and other performance specifications were not provided.
Should Chrysler survive the Obama administration's deadline to become viable by this month's end, the automaker would apply for federal grants to build a fleet of 250 demonstration models for use by government agencies, a Chrysler spokeswoman said.
But the Postal Service has plenty of its own problems meeting alternative fuel requirements for federal fleets. A Washington Post article last November, based on an October 2008 report from the Government Accountability Office, showed that alternative fuel was used less than 1 percent of the time from 2007 to 2008, and that its 37,000 ethanol-capable vans used 1.5 million additional gallons of gasoline last year.
Writing about the government's failure to enforce its own energy policies (such as the requirement that all federal agencies increase their use of alternative fuel by 10 percent each year) is a story we'll get to another time, especially how the General Services Administration is using $300 million of the stimulus money to buy new alternative-fuel cars.
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