Chrysler Says It Will Produce EV and Hybrid Vehicles in 2010

It appears Chrysler was sandbagging…

By Brendan Moore

09.23.2008

Chrysler surprised the rest of the auto industry today by announcing that it intends to produce both an electric vehicle and gas-electric hybrids starting in 2010.

Chrysler showed off an all-electric sports car, and hybrid versions of the Chrysler Town and Country minivan and the Jeep Wrangler, at a press event at Chrysler headquarters. Chrysler officials claimed a 150-200 mile range from the lithium-ion batteries in the vehicles, and said the battery packs could be recharged from either a 110-volt or a 220-volt power source, with different recharging times applicable to each.

Chrysler also stated that it tried to do a partnership deal with Tesla late last year that ultimately proved to be unsuccessful, and is currently involved in a partnership with General Electric and U.S. Department of Energy to develop smaller, more powerful batteries for electric vehicles.

All of this is news to the rest of the industry and the automotive press, as Chrysler has appeared to be more or less sitting around while other manufacturers are moving forward with new engine technology, new battery technology, alternative-fuel vehicles, or, some combination of all three initiatives.

Chrysler President Tom LaSorda alluded to that perception, commenting, “We are well ahead where the industry observers thought we were,” Mr. LaSorda said. The auto maker has been working on electric technologies for more than a year, he said. “We kept a pretty good secret.” LaSorda also mentioned that several prototypes of the vehicles in question were being built at this moment, but would disclose any details regarding volume, location, etc.

If this all holds up, then I have to perform my own mea culpa concerning Chrysler. I also have to change my opinion of their immediate future prospects from awful to suddenly promising. Second, if their range of battery claims for the EV (electric vehicle) are accurate, it would put that vehicle at the absolute forefront of battery technology. Which is stunning, frankly, and difficult to believe. By the way, LaSorda also stated a 0-60 acceleration time of under 5 seconds for the car.

I hope, however, that it is all true. Chrysler needs something to rouse itself out of its corporate stupor, and maybe this is the catalyst. It’s a daring move on their move if it’s for real, and I applaud their guts in moving forward like this with electric vehicle technology.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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1 Comment

  1. It’s surprising news, but I don’t find it all that impressive just because it’s so similar in concept to the Tesla Roadster. It’s not like Chrysler really has to invent a lot of their own EV technology to build a Tesla/Elise (Europe) clone.

    If the Dodge EV thing pans out for Chrysler, Tesla is screwed, though. No way would Chrysler charge $109,000 for theirs.

    -Chris Haak

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