Chrysler LLC, has launched prototypes of three plug-in electric vehicles including Dodge EV, a sports coupe; Jeep Wrangler, a sport utility vehicle; and Chrysler Town & Country, a minivan. The three vehicles displayed at Chrysler's Auburn Hills headquarters complex, yesterday is expected to hit the markets by 2010, said the automaker.
Chrysler has nort decided the pricing of the vehicles, as of yet.
The Dodge sports car based on Lotus Europa underpinnings is a completely electric vehicle. The Wrangler and the Town & Country minivan will be extended-range vehicles similar to the Chevy Volt, launched by General Motors, which will roll out in November 2010.
As with the Volt, all three Chrysler vehicles are recharged by plugging them into a standard wall outlet. Preliminary tests indicate that rear-wheel drive sports car will go from zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds and will have a range of up to 200 miles on a single charge. The minivan and Jeep will be able to go 40 miles on battery power alone, with a small engine kicking in after that to recharge the batteries and extend the range to about 400 miles.
Chrysler is hopeful of getting federal approval of a $25-billion loan package to help fund construction and other investments in its electric-car campaign.
Chrysler's sales have taken a hit, amid soaring gasoline prices. The automaker appeared to be behind other manufacturers in the race to bring out more efficient small cars and eventually electric vehicles.
Unlike traditional hybrids, electric vehicles are designed to use a small fuel-powered engine with lithium-ion battery pack. Chrysler said it was still working out production plans, pricing and the key issue of what supplier would provide the lithium-ion batteries for its first run of electric vehicles.