----- TEVan General Overview -----

The TEVan is a full size ZEV (zero emission vehicle) and is one of 56 full sized electric
vehicles purpose built by Chrysler Corporation on the 1993 Caravan platform.  These vehicles
were built at Chrysler's Windsor Ontario, Canada, plant on the same assembly line as
the ICE powered Caravan.  The TEVan was sold primarily to Electric Utilities and was
not made available to the public, although a few examples have fallen into private hands
over the years.  Original sticker price was US$120k in 1993.

Standard equipment on the TEVan included: Heating & Air Conditioning, Power Steering,
Power Brakes and seating for 5 passengers plus luggage.  Two battery types were used in the
TEVan production.  1)  The Eagle-Picher Nife (Nickle-Iron) model NIF-200.  These units were
200 amp hour batteries with 30 units @ 5 cells per unit fitted in the pack; and 2), the SAFT
flooded NiCd batteries which were also estimated to last for 100,000 miles or greater than
20 years.  Both battery types have an automatic battery watering system that is integrated
with the charging system.  The TEVan’s on-board charger is a PFC (Power Factor Corrected)
Martin-Marietta and accepts a) 120vac @ 20 amps; b) 220vac @ 20 or 40 amps; and c) a 208 three
phase @ 20 or 40 amp inputs.  The charger is incorporated into the vehicle’s controller

The TEVan uses a 27 hp, 70 hp max (48 kW) separately-excited General Electric DC traction
motor coupled to a two-speed FWD EV trans-axle that featured hi, lo, reverse and park; and is a
highway capable vehicle with speeds up to 70 mph.  The owner's manual referres to it as a
'semi-automatic transmission' although it uses a clutch. The motor controller was also
manufactured by General Electric.  The TEVan has a curb weight of 5,060 lbs.

The TEVan has an 8.8 kW three-stage ceramic electric heater.  The 120A DC/DC converter
provided all the 12v power, there is no auxiliary (12V) battery. Gauges included motor
temperature and SOC (state of charge, akin to "Fuel Level") using the stock instruments.  This
particular TEVan is fitted with an E-Meter and a GE LXT diagnostic gauge added to the dash.  It
is also equipped with electric air conditioning (R-134a), regenerative braking, power brakes
using a Delco electric vacuum pump, power steering, AM/FM Stereo, and airbags.  The original
equipment tires were LRR, (Low Rolling Resistance), Goodyear P205/75R15 Momentum at

----- NiFe Batteries -----

The 180v nickel-iron (NiFe) battery pack consists of 30 Eagle-Picher 6v NIF-200 200Ah
batteries in six removable pods under the floor of the car, delivering a 90 mile range according
to the owner's manual.  60 to 80 miles of range is a more pratical estimate depending on driving
conditions.  The nickel-iron battery is a storage battery having a Nickel (III) oxide-hydroxide cathode
and an iron anode, with an electrolyte of potassium hydroxide (KOH). The nominal cell voltage
is 1.2V.  It is a very robust battery which is tolerant of abuse, (overcharge, over discharge, short-
circuiting and thermal shock) and can have very long life even if so treated.  It is often used in
backup situations where it can be continuously charged and can last for well over 20 years.  Its
limitations include low specific energy, poor charge retention, poor low-temperature
performance, a low energy-to-weight ratio, and its high cost of manufacture.  The ability of these
batteries to survive frequent cycling is due to the low solubility of the
reactants in the electrolyte. The formation of metallic iron during charge is slow because of the
low solubility of the Fe3O4, which is good and bad.  It is good because the slow formation of
iron crystals preserves the electrodes, bad because it limits the high rate performance: these
cells charge slowly, and give it up slowly.

Edison batteries are known to perform stronger the more they are cycled.  Even following
long periods of non-use these units can be awakened through repeated charge and
discharge cycles.  Although the TEVan’s watering system is designed to pump overflow KOH
back into the batteries on subsequent watering cycles, the KOH electrolyte can and should
be replenished from time to time to maintain optional performance.

Nickel-iron batteries have long been used in European mining operations
because of their ability to withstand vibrations, high temperatures and other physical stress. They are
also utilized in wind and solar power system applications and for electric
vehicle applications.

----- Battery History -----

This battery type was developed by Thomas Edison in 1901, and used as the energy source for
electric vehicles, such as the Detroit Electric.  Edison made claims for his nickel-iron design,
claiming them to be, "... far superior to batteries using lead plates and acid".
Edison's batteries were made from about 1903 to 1972 by the Edison Battery Storage
Company located in East Orange, NJ. They were quite profitable for the company.  In 1972 the
battery company was sold to the Exide Battery Corporation.  They continued to manufacture the
battery until about 1975, then abruptly discontinued making the battery.  Edison was
disappointed that his battery was not adopted for starting internal combustion engines and that
electric vehicles went out of production only a few years after his battery was introduced.  He
actually developed the battery to be the battery of choice for electric vehicles which he thought
would be the preferred transportation mode in the early 1900's.  The battery enjoyed wide use
for railroad signaling, fork lift, and standby power applications.  There are no Nickel Iron
batteries manufactured in the Western world at this time (2006), but they are still manufactured
in China.

----- Other Chrysler EV History -----

The second generation of this vehicle, named the EPIC (Electric Powered Interurban
Commuter), was launched in 1997 with advanced lead acid batteries and later in 1998
with nickel metal-hydride NiMh batteries.  The EPIC used an AC traction motor and single
speed transmission as opposed to the DC system of the TEVan.  The EPIC was only offered for
lease in New York and California in 1999.  See our
EPIC here.
1993 Chrysler TEVan - BEV
Experimental Zero Emissions
Electric Vehicle
BEV designed by GE c1993 - total production = 56
Powered by 30 6v nominal Nickle-Iron (NiFe) Edison batteries
Stock Interior,
with additions of
the e-meter and
GE LXT gauges.

In other sections
one can see
where we have
added a LapTop
for data logging.
E-Meter and GE LXT
diagnostic gauges.  
The e-meter also has
an RS-232 serial
DE-9 interface with a
Model 268 Isolator
and data logging
capabilities to any PC
via Hyperterminal
Versatile charging via
120 vac, 220 single
phase & 240 three
phase A/C supply in
either 20 or 40 amp

The driver's side
parking light
whenever the
charger is active.
Charging coupler
Battery pack
connections to the
GE TS Controller,
along with Power
Steering, AC, DC/DC
converter, Motor &
Motor regen' radsok
Vehicle Description
-- pictures below --
Controller, Motor
cooling intake
(round tubing),
DC/DC converter
(front right), 12v
relay tray (middle
right), PS,
Heating, AC, etc.,
high voltage 30
amp  fuse tray
(top middle rear).
Electric decal that
replaces the
stock Caravan
Exterior pictures all
around the stock