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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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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.


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.

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.

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. 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 :)

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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