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Chrysler goes electric

 Posted by on September 24, 2008
Sep 242008

By John DeFore

Chevy may be stepping up on publicity for its upcoming Volt plug-in, but it isn’t the only American automaker finally throwing itself convincingly into the green marketplace.

In a surprise announcement yesterday, Chrysler showed off not one but three vehicles that, at least within a certain range, can get users around without using a single drop of gasoline.

The three models — a sports car called the Dodge EV, an EV Jeep, and a minivan named Chrysler EV — are touted in this promotional video in which chairman/CEO Bob Nardelli (citing the company’s “social responsibility” to provide environmentally friendly products) boasts, “we intend to deliver on that responsibility faster and more broadly than our competition.”

Chrysler hopes its ENVI initiative will beat its competitors to the punch by making electric vehicles that use existing designs instead of designing new models from scratch. Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President of Product Development, claims that “in 2010, we will deliver at least one vehicle model to consumers in North America, and then soon after that in the European markets.” But the company has its sights set on offering “a full-range of vehicle options” soon afterward.

There’s no word yet on details like pricing, and executives won’t even say which car will be offered for sale in 2010: the sports model, an all-electric that can run more than 150 miles on a charge and goes from 0-60 in under 5 seconds; or one of the other two, which are “range extended Vehicles” that (like the Volt) supplement electric systems with a small gasoline engine which kicks in after a certain mileage.

According to the New York Times, these ambitious plans may depend in part on the government saving some of its Wall Street bailout cash for environmental priorities: “While Chrysler is committed to electric vehicles, Mr. Nardelli said the project would benefit directly from a proposed $25 billion federal loan program for the United States auto industry.”

Copyright © 2008 | Distributed by Noofangle Media

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