Chrysler EPIC Electric Van Circa 1999 – Video

3 years ago by Jay Cole 29

1999 Chrysler EPIC - Help My Pants Are Trying To Attack My Neck

1999 Chrysler EPIC – Help My Pants Are Trying To Attack My Neck

Yesterday brought news from Chrysler-Fiat’s CEO that the company’s new extended range Town & Country would be arriving in the US “a year earlier” than expected – reportedly now arriving in late in 2015.

Although we are confident this van will indeed see production, we still have our doubts Fiatsler will be delivering any retail copies by the end of next year.

After all they do have a somewhat spotty history with the platform:

  • April 2012 – a $10 million DoE grant help produced 23 electric Town & Country vans (with a 12.1 kWh battery on board) on a two year test program – which were recalled in September of 2012 because of some fires in 3 Dodge Ram EV trucks also included in the program
  • September 2008 – Chrysler announced a 40 mile extended range van through its “ENVI” program.  Unfortunately when Fiat took over the company in November 2009, they ended the program – scrapping 5 production-intent EV offerings at the same time

 

This reflection of vans-not-to-be caused us to think back even further; what about the other Chrysler EV vans in the past?

If The Battery Light Enters The Red

If The Battery Light Enters The Red A Continuous Chime Will Make You Want To End Your Life

Such as the Chrysler TEVan, which became the Chrysler EPIC, billed at the time to be “the world’s only 5 passenger production electric minivan!”  Range?  “Good for 80 to 90 miles” 

What ever happened to that program?

Total production run of the original TEVan was just 56 units, but from 1993 to 2001 Chrysler did manage to make a few hundred of the EPICs. The EPIC BEV was a fleet-lease only, but some were ultimately sold.  Those that were leased were eventually crushed, although a dozen or so that were purchased still survive today.

Thankfully, the Chrysler walk-through “user’s guide” on the EPIC is still around for our us relieve old memories – like the small and unintrusive EVSE charging system that came with the van.

Hat tip to offib!

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29 responses to "Chrysler EPIC Electric Van Circa 1999 – Video"

  1. David Murray says:

    As far as I’m concerned.. all Chrysler makes these days is low-tech, out-of-date, gas-guzzling junk.

    1. gsned57 says:

      They make minivans which a lot of folks need. If they can make a phev you’ll be turning a 18 mpg car into a 70 mpg car. Much better than prius to phev.

  2. GuyMan says:

    The EPIC has a 5-8 hr charge time, 80-90M range, top speed of 80mph, and it looks like a standard form factor of that era – And powered by nickel iron batteries – Some good history is provided below:

    http://www.allpar.com/corporate/electric-cars.html

    Actually, sort of sad that this didn’t progress further, it sort of up there in EV1 history – And I wasn’t aware that Chrysler had gotten this far in the 1990s.

    We all lost a decade when GM sold the battery patents to Chevron, and until LiIon was developed enough to work around the patents.

    What a shame…

    1. Jesse Gurr says:

      Interesting article about chrysler’s electric minivans. It sounds like they couldn’t decide what battery type to use. They started with Ni-Fe, then Ni-Cd, then Pb, then NiMH. I think GM only sold the NiMH patents which didn’t affect the other types. So they still could have gone with those, but didn’t.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        I wounder how much range would one of these vans get if we could find one still on the road and replace the battery pack with a lithium battery pack of equal volume? In that the range of the car would go up while the weight would drop.

        1. gsned57 says:

          I saw one of these on Ebay just 2 weeks ago. I was following it but the auction got pulled. http://www.ebay.com/itm/191347193998?_trksid=p2060778.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

          Didn’t even get an offer of $3000

          1. jstack6 says:

            One of my friends own the EPIC with NiMH liquid cooled batteries and an old tEVan with NiCad batteries both still can go 60-80 miles and the batteries are as good as new.

            http://www.evalbum.com/4854

  3. SIvad says:

    Hmm. 80-90 miles in a heavy minivan with a 12.1 kwh battery pack with maybe 10 kwh usable. Are those stats for downhill?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hey Slvad,

      Sorry if we didn’t make that clear enough. That 12.1 kWh was for the small test fleet Chrysler did in 2012 (returned mid 50s MPGe)

      The Chrysler all-electric vans of the 90s had much larger batteries. Although it varied, the most popular set-up was a 38.5 kWh version.

      Here is a “real world” field report that some might find interesting on the EPIC on the ’99 van with NIMH BATTERIES:

      https://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/avta/pdfs/fsev/sce_sum/epic_nimh.pdf

      The earlier ’97 LEAD ACID, not quite so good:

      https://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/avta/pdfs/fsev/sce_sum/epic_pba.pdf

  4. Josh says:

    I miss the ENVI program.

    1. kdawg says:

      Here was an electric van that was part of the ENVI program. They are wind tunnel testing it to be used for a fleet of mail delivery vehicles.

      1. ClarksonCote says:

        KDawg, can you provide more info?

        Is this recent? I’ve long been a proponent of electric mail delivery vehicles, and this would be fantastic if it gains traction.

        1. ClarksonCote says:

          Gah, I see the video is from 2009. Seems that Congress forcing the USPS to pre-fund retirement unlike any other commercial entity caused the plans to be scrapped.

          I feel so helpless here, I wish there was a way to get EV’s in the hands of the postal service.

          1. kdawg says:

            Yeah, it died w/the ENVI program. Maybe we need to be like China and declare 30% of our government vehicles will be electric. That would be start anyway.

            Here’s another video of the UPSP piloting EVs.
            http://vimeo.com/45142568

            1. kdawg says:

              And here’s a really good history of EVs used by the USPS, from the 1899 to today.

              https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/postal-history/electric-vehicles.pdf

      2. Josh says:

        It was the Evora based Tesla Roadster fighter that I was most interested in at the time. Since I have been told all my vehicles will have more than two doors 🙁

      3. jstack6 says:

        aero affects are big the faster you go. If you going with the wind they can help you too. Just like up hill followed by a super efficient downhill.

        My friends Tesla S shows 999 mile range when going down long hills.

  5. ESepulvedaBlvd says:

    Thanks for this!

    Great video about a vehicle no one wanted, then. As the former owner/operator of a 1999 SWB Dodge Mini Van, I would love to have one exactly like this one, new. (With the appropriate J1772 and Fast Charge Connectors, natch).

    lol at the SoCal Edison report you posted. 80 Mile Freeway range with a 930 lb. payload! Hell, my Leaf couldn’t do that with just me on board!

  6. Foo says:

    Interesting using the front-left indicator lamp for “charging status”.

    1. Josh says:

      This was supposed to be in reply to my ENVI comment above. [sorry ipad typing]

  7. Bill Howland says:

    I got a kick out of what must have been about a 6 kw Lockheed-Martin dc charger. It was probably more than $600 also. But then, at least the car itself did not need an internal charger. I would also assume this device needed 3phase 208 @ 20 amps. Anyone have the specs for this?

    The darndest thing is that many families need EXACTLY this vehicle, and 15 years later, you STILL cannot buy an ev remotely like this in the states. Now, supposedly the X, which has been talked about for around 3 years now, and the outlander EV, and also the Porsche EV suv will all be available soon.

    WAITING WAITING.

    1. Jim says:

      The charger is a Lockheed Martin 14.4 Kw and can be used at a 6.6 Kw using 230 V single phase residential power.. 30A circuit. The cost was $10,000 each. It weighs 200 lbs and was designed and built for only this vehicle, no other. It uses an ODU connection in order to handle the 14.4 KV DC when charging at level 3. The charger also talks to you to tell you the state of charge and how many Kwhrs you have used. It can be programmed to start charge at a requested time.

      Jim, Glendale, AZ
      http://www.evalbum.com/4854

  8. Turbofroggy says:

    This looks like an exact copy of the EPIC I posted 4 years ago. It is like someone downloaded it from my Youtube page then reposted it as themselves to be posted to this article on the 3rd of October. In fact if you search on Youtube for Chrysler Epic Minivan you get my video first. That is weak sauce taking someone else’s video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3suNtJjfsM

    1. Turbofroggy says:

      The video is the exact same length to the second and has the same first few seconds of blackness from the VHS tape I had.

      1. Jesse Gurr says:

        That would suck if someone just jacked it from you. But, perhaps that person had the same VHS tape you had. There really isn’t any way of knowing unless you talk to the person.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Hey Turbo,

          We are more than happy to swap out the first video for yours…especially as you are a part of the community.

          The new ones upload is what alerted us to its presence; we didn’t realize there was another version of it in existence. No slight intended at all, (=

          /swapped

  9. jstack6 says:

    The batteries are amazing and last for over 10 years and more. A friend has the TEvan with 22 year old batteries that still go the same range. They just may last for another 10 years or more.