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Chrysler's all-electric sports car  (Source: Detroit Free Press)

Chrysler Vice-Chairman Tom Lasorda unveils the new models
New all-electric sports car leads the pack.

While GM has generated a media frenzy over its upcoming release of the Volt plug-in hybrid, and even Ford is getting in on the act, little has been heard from Chrysler. That's all changed now, as the smallest of the US Big Three today announced plans to release three electric vehicles, including a totally new all-electric sports car. One of the three models will be on sale as early as 2010.

Chrysler unveiled an "electric range-extended" versions of their Town and Country minivan, as well as their iconic Jeep Wrangler. Both models will be plug-in hybrid variants. The automaker says each will have a 40 mile range on electric-only drive, at which time the gasoline engine will kick in.

This range is identical to GM's Volt, which should come as little surprise, given Chrysler has been working with A123 Systems, the same Lithium-Ion battery supplier GM reputedly will use for the Volt. Chrysler has not announced an official supplier yet, however, and says they are "working with multiple suppliers" on potential sources for batteries.

Tom LaSorda, Vice-Chairman for Chrysler, said the new models have been in the works for nearly two years. According to LaSorda, Chrysler's strategy is radically different than GM's. "We said we’ll take something more bold on the electric — all electric."

LaSorda said, "we didn’t want to spend the time on developing an all new platform, an all new car and then an all new propulsion system. We said we’ve got two icons for our company, a Wrangler, which is the icon for the Jeep brand, and the minivan, there’s 11 million-plus which we’ve sold. And people would say, ‘My god, they brought green to a minivan and Wrangler, this is unbelievable."

The most interesting of the new models, perhaps, is the new all-electric Dodge sportscar, capable of a 0-60 acceleration time of under 5 seconds. The vehicle's range will be 150-200 miles and will have a charging time of 6-8 hours on a standard 110v outlet. The vehicle will also accept a 220v supply, which will cut charging times in half.

No name or price was given for the sports car.

Chrysler has been hit hard by poor sales due to high gasoline prices. The automaker's sales have been down more than 20% in 2008-- a value double the industry average.



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Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Lord 666 on 9/24/2008 9:09:30 AM , Rating: 2
Or even diesel powered Volt vehicles like diesel locomotives?




RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Fnoob on 9/24/2008 10:19:22 AM , Rating: 2
CSX is running an interesting ad regarding the efficiency of their locomotives.... something like one gallon of fuel can haul one ton of freight over 400miles. I get the feeling there is something disingenuous about those numbers, but who knows, it could be accurate. If so, why couldn't a scaled down diesel in a car achieve similar figures?


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Suntan on 9/24/2008 10:34:24 AM , Rating: 2
Try scaling it down.

-Suntan


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By phxfreddy on 9/24/2008 1:20:49 PM , Rating: 2
Lionel train ? HO HO HO choo choo Charlie


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Lord 666 on 9/24/2008 10:36:43 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Here are other diesel questions with respect to Volt-like vehicles:

1. Since the diesel motor is not powering the wheels directly, would they be able to use off-road diesel which has much lower taxes?

2. Since the diesel motor in this vehicle acts as a generator and not driving the wheels directly, would it be exempt from B2T5 requirements? This generator does not require emission controls

http://cgi.ebay.com/RAMSOND-PORTABLE-6500-W-6-5-KW...


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Suntan on 9/24/2008 10:47:07 AM , Rating: 2
1) No. Road tax on diesel for vehicals is intended to tax for the purposes of keeping the roads in working shape. the diesel is still powering the vehical, even if it is ultimately connected to the ground through a propshaft or a couple of copper wires.

2) Again no. Taxes and regulations are directed at vehicles, not drivetrains.

Even if the current mandates are written such that you could technically get around them, politicions have a habit of closing those loopholes when it becomes evident that the "intent" of the law is being end-run by technicalities.

-Suntan


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By foolsgambit11 on 9/24/2008 2:37:15 PM , Rating: 2
Of course, you could just buy that generator and plug an all-electric car up to it for charging.... But as long as the power source is on board the vehicle, it's not going to matter in the long run.


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Lord 666 on 9/24/2008 3:06:15 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting idea. GM hasn't specified if you can charge the car through the charging outlet and be driving at the same time. Run an extension cord to one of those generators in the back seat.

Even better would be someone taking a Volt, ripping out the petrol motor, and slapping in a diesel generator like that one. Then for sure you can use off road diesel as it no longer uses the original motor.


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Spuke on 9/24/2008 3:31:02 PM , Rating: 2
What's an off-road diesel? And what is the significance of this?


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Lord 666 on 9/24/2008 3:51:04 PM , Rating: 2
The taxation of the fuel is much different.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_diesel


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Spuke on 9/24/2008 5:19:48 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks. I take it you guys are in Europe?


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Lord 666 on 9/24/2008 10:49:10 PM , Rating: 2
NJ. Many friends and business trips to the UK though


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By NullSubroutine on 9/25/2008 2:08:12 AM , Rating: 2
Road diesel is for vehicles, semis, etc. Off road diesel is like for farm vehicles. At least, thats what we used on my different families farms.


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Spuke on 9/25/2008 7:23:44 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks again. Never knew there was a difference nor that you could get tax free fuel (or less taxed?) for them.


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Lord 666 on 9/25/2008 9:30:57 PM , Rating: 2
A little taxation tidbit... even tax exempt organizations in NY state still have to purchase the regular diesel with regular taxes. http://www.tax.state.ny.us/pdf/2007/fillin/st/st12...

There is a slight tax credit that municpalities and not-for-profits will gain by using bio-diesel or other "alternate" fuels.

For current prices of off-road diesel, it typically is the same price of heating oil; which the going rate currently is about $3.20 or about .70 cheaper than current prices of regular diesel. http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/whore144w.h... Problem with that is use of red or heating oil in road applications is its a federal crime. But off-road is ULSD but just with red dye and an additional chemical tracer added.

Anyway, going back to the original idea... if someone took a Volt, put a pickup chassis body on it or did it el camino style, and then mounted a diesel generator in the bed they could technically use off-road diesel to power the electrical connection :)


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By RU482 on 9/24/2008 10:48:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
.... something like one gallon of fuel can haul one ton of freight over 400miles.


But how much fuel does it take to bring the locomotive up to speed?

Talk about comparing apples to oranges.


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By quiksilvr on 9/24/2008 12:13:33 PM , Rating: 2
The electric motor can bring the car up to speed and the gasoline/diesel engine can maintain it's speed. The main difference between trains and automobiles is that locomotives have virtually no obstacles. It has a path drawn out and doesn't have to worry about traffic (usually).

Personally I feel that purely electric cars are the future NOW and it is totally within the realm of possibility to make a decent performing electric car with a 250+ mile range for sub 50 grand prices, but a good transition to this is a diesel hybrid. I just hope that Bluetec spills its way to other companies soon so that diesel engines can be further implemented in automobiles.


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Suntan on 9/24/2008 1:28:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Personally I feel that purely electric cars are the future NOW and it is totally within the realm of possibility to make a decent performing electric car with a 250+ mile range for sub 50 grand prices


Come up here to Minnesota and try that theory out in the middle of Feburary...

-Suntan


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By guacamojo on 9/24/2008 11:16:28 AM , Rating: 5
There are quite a few reasons why the fuel economy doesn't scale. Here are some:

Rolling resistance-
Trains have steel wheels rolling on steel tracks. Even the best "low rolling resistance" tires don't really compare that well to steel-on-steel.

Aerodynamic drag-
Train cars are close enough together that each car can "draft" behind the car in front of it. This gives pretty huge aero benefits to the train considered as a whole, even though each car may not be that streamlined.

Constant speed operation-
Freight trains don't accelerate fast. They also don't do a whole lot of stop-and-go cycles (compared with cars.) So they don't waste a whole bunch of fuel (or burn through a lot of brakes) accelerating their mass, they only spend what they need to do the work of climbing grades and overcoming drag and friction.

Consider a freight train that takes minutes to get to 60 mph. Would you accept that in a car?

Overall, although turbo-diesel engines tuned for constant speed operation are relatively efficient, they're not the reason that freight rail is so efficient.


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By clovell on 9/24/2008 11:22:41 AM , Rating: 2
How many trains haul only a single ton of freight? Consider that a train has a small cross-section in proportion to its actual size (hence, less drag), and that its wheels aren't made for stop-and-go traffic (lower coefficient of static friction), and you've just eliminated some of the largest power losses there are in a vehicle.

If cars ran on rails and traffic control systems could be designed that kept us moving and out of wrecks, along with some narrower designs, we might be able to get close.


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By markitect on 9/24/2008 3:21:53 PM , Rating: 1
Its easy to get those numbers:

Step one take a vehicle and make the acceleration really really suck. like 0-60 in 5 minutes.

Step two. Let it run at 40 miles an hour for 6 hours without any stops


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By bertomatic on 9/24/2008 11:01:05 AM , Rating: 2
I feel that you can thank California for that. "Ford has a [diesel] vehicle that gets 65MPG and will not be released in the US."
http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/15/2...


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Keeir on 9/24/2008 12:43:46 PM , Rating: 1
Alright, a few points to remember

#1. 65MPG is likely British. For example, the US EPA rated prius acchieves ~45 MPG combined, the British (only ones that do MPG) Prius acchieves ~66 MPG combined.

#2. Diesels are more efficient and release less C02 per mile. However, they typically release more chemical pollutants (NOx etc) per gallon and mile. The big thing is that a Diesel releases much much more particle matter. Particle matter is terrible for human health. Particle matter already shortens the lifespan of thosands to millions of USers every year. Yes, filters etc and Bluetec cuts that down significantly, but this addition could be very costly for Ford.


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By 306maxi on 9/25/2008 11:16:37 AM , Rating: 2
GTL (gas to liquid) fuel is excellent in regards to particulate emissions. I don't know if they sell it in the US but in the UK Shell sell GTL diesel and even if you stomp on the accelerator in 5th at 30 mph it still doesn't spew out big clouds of black smoke. As an asthmatic I'm very happy that this sort of thing is being done.


RE: Where are the diesel hybrids?
By Keeir on 9/25/2008 6:05:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I am aware of all the changes, but given the California already has significant problems with Particle emissions

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:US-PM10-nonatta...

I think they are being reasonable. Both gasoline AND diesel must pass these requirements. Even with filters than remove 85% of the particles produced, Diesel fuel in most diesel cars is beyond california limits.


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