Bright ideas

* Electric Dodge driven * 0-60mph in less than 5s * Based on Lotus Europa...

Bright ideas

Chrysler is keen to stress than the Circuit EV is still in development and that they're still evaluating different batteries and electric motors to find the best combination.

Despite the sports car looking so close to production Chrysler is staying light-lipped about which of their EV vehicles will make it to showrooms first.

The Circuit, 4x4 and MPV are all being worked on simultaneously, and it's a case of whichever one is ready first. They have promised that one will be ready by 2010.

The price of the Circuit, when it goes on sale, is also uncertain. The plan is to find the best off-the-shelf batteries and motors as possible and then produce the controlling electronics and systems in house.

As the battery and motor form a large percentage of the total cost of an electric car, this should help keep the purchase price down.

Not all of the EV vehicles will work exactly the same way as the Circuit. Research shows that 80 per cent of drivers in North America only do an average of 40 miles a day in their car.

Chrysler plans to produce vehicles capable of covering that distance on a single charge but, for larger models like the 4x4s and MPVs, a small 1.0-litre petrol engine may also be used up generate extra energy and extend the range of the car.

These 'range extenders' will not only be cheaper to manufacture, because they don't contain larger and more expensive battery packs, but also means that owners don't need spend more on a car than they need to.