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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 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."

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

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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