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Chrysler's next-generation of EVs revealed. Image by Dodge.

Chrysler's next-generation of EVs revealed
Chrysler announces new range of electric vehicles, including a rebadged Lotus Europa.
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Chrysler has announced plans to manufacture an electric vehicle for each of its brand names: Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep. All models will use the same motor, electronic controller and lithium-ion battery technology as found in the impressive zero-emission Tesla Roadster.

Based on the Lotus Europa platform, the Dodge version has impressive statistics. The motor generates 268bhp and 479lb.ft of torque, which launch the EV Coupe to 60mph in less than five seconds and on to a top speed of 120mph. It is claimed a standing quarter-mile can be dispatched in just 13 seconds, which is impressive for any car, let alone one without an exhaust. Equally impressive is the 150-200 mile range possible on one 4-8 hour charge.

Using four in-wheel motors the Jeep EV is capable of just 40-miles of pure zero-emission transportation. This limited range is aimed at the daily commute. To extend the range when required there is a small petrol powered generator. With a tank full of eight gallons of petrol, 400 miles are possible. The controllability and instant torque characteristics of the electric motor should lend itself well to off-roading.

Carrying the Chrysler name, a seven-seat people carrier completes the line-up. The mini-van model has the same range and technology as the Jeep, but uses a more conventional front-wheel drive setup.

There is also an updated futuristic looking version of the GEM Peapod. Given its performance figures, more normally associated with electric vehicles like a milk float, it is aimed at gated communities or the short commute to school or work.

The ENVI team at Chrysler intend to bring these products to market by 2010 in US and shortly after for Europe. With the exception of the Dodge, being pure EV, the other models will have to be competitively priced to compete in Europe with efficient diesel cars already available.

Thomas Newby - 24 Sep 2008

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