Chrysler goes electric

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Jim Holder
11 January 2009

Chrysler goes electric

Chrysler may be the most cash-strapped of the Big Three Detroit-based car manufacturers, but it's knocking out electric concept cars like nobody's business.

At the motor show it unveiled two more the Chrysler 200C EV concept and Jeep Patriot concept.

Previously, it had demonstrated the Dodge EV, Jeep Wrangler Unlimed and Town & Country minivan. However, it revealed a modified version of the Dodge EV, now called Dodge Circuit EV, after a sporty redesign.

The cars are either all-electric, or use electricity to extend the fuel tank's range.

It should be stressed that these concept cars aren't just ways of trying to prove to Congress that Chrysler has thought about green technology in order to leverage more bailout money.

The company has pledged to put at least one of the vehicles on sale in the USA by 2010, with European sales to follow. At least three more models will follow by 2013.

Chrysler 200C EV
In common with the rest of the range-extended powertrain cars, this car is capable of driving 40 miles on electric power alone, which is extended to 400 miles on a tank of fuel when the engine is used.

It is said to hint at how the next Chrysler sports saloon could look, and is based on a shortened version of Chrysler's rear-wheel-drive platform.

As well as its notable powertrain, the concept car stands out for new technology features such as being able to create social networks with friends, tracking their journeys, and linking the car with home computers to plan journeys, log stop off points and ensure your favourite music is transferred from home to your car.

Jeep Patriot EV
Again, this car uses the electric motor to extend its range. It can do 40 miles with all-electric propulsion, and has a total range of 400 miles.

Dodge Circuit EV
The redesign to this car has only fuelled speculation it will be the first of the quintet to make production.

It's a two-passenger, rear-wheel-drive sportscar with a 264bhp electric motor that generates 480lbft of pulling power.

That should equate to a 0-60mph time of less than five seconds and a top speed of 120mph. Chrysler expects lithium-ion technology to give the car a range of 150-200 miles between charges.