DaimlerChrysler's EPIC Shuttle Program

January 09, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

DaimlerChrysler (Auburn Hills, MI) recently announced that the first 10 Electric Powered Interurban Commuter (EPIC) minivans have joined the fleet of Xpress Shuttle at Los Angeles World Airport. According to DaimlerChrysler, the five-passenger minivans which are being added to the shuttle company's fleet are each expected to log up to 100,000 miles of service per year."This project continues DaimlerChrysler's commitment to work with the State of California in addressing their unique air quality problems," said Susan M. Cischke, senior vice president of Regulatory Affairs and Passenger Car Operations. "With the Xpress Shuttle program, hundreds of thousands of Californians will experience electric vehicle technology, and DaimlerChrysler will gain valuable knowledge about the vehicles' performance over hundreds of thousands of miles of real-world travel."The EPIC can carry a payload of 925 pounds. The current model is powered by 28, 12V advanced nickel-metal-hydride batteries that deliver up to 80-90 miles per charge. In addition the batteries can be fast-charged in about 30 minutes. According to DaimlerChrysler, AeroVironment (Monrovia, CA) is providing the EPIC fast-chargers for the project. The company claims that where a traditional charger delivers six to seven kilowatts and recharges an electric vehicle in five to seven hours, the EPIC fast-charger operates at a much higher power (60-150 kilowatts) and has the minivan back at close to full charge within a half-hour.