Suddenly manufacturers are seeing electric vehicles as the way forward. Chrysler has announced that it is introducing three electric vehicle prototypes, one for each of its brands: Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge.
The company will select one electric-drive model to be produced in 2010 for consumers in North American markets, and European markets after 2010.
The company also says that around 100 of its electric vehicles will be on the road in government, business, utility and Chrysler development fleets in the US in 2009.
Chrysler says that it is well into the development of advanced, production-intent electric vehicles, and that it will apply electric-drive technology to its front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and body-on-frame four-wheel drive platforms in the next several years.
At its World Headquarters in Detroit, Chrysler revealed its electric-drive prototypes – Dodge EV, Jeep EV and Chrysler EV – and demonstrated the driving performance and capability of each.
Chrysler’s Electric Vehicles utilise just three primary components. These include an electric motor to drive the wheels, an advanced lithium-ion battery system to power the electric-drive motor, and a controller that manages energy flow. The electric-drive system is being developed for front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and body-on-frame four-wheel drive vehicle applications.
“This technology provides customers with a vehicle that has zero exhaust emissions and a 150 to 200 mile driving range – far exceeding most Americans’ daily commutes, as nearly 80 percent of Americans drive less than 40 miles per day, or 14,000 miles per year,” said Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President – Product Development. “Electric Vehicles provide the opportunity to fulfil social responsibility, reduce dependency on foreign oil, and eliminate monthly gasoline bills, while delivering performance and utility that our customers desire.”
The Range-extended Electric Vehicle combines the electric-drive components of the Electric Vehicle with a small gasoline engine and integrated electric generator to produce additional energy to power the electric-drive system when needed. This provides the positive attributes of an Electric Vehicle with the driving range equivalent to today’s gasoline-powered vehicles – with no compromises in performance.
The Dodge EV development Electric Vehicle is a two-passenger rear-wheel drive sports car that marries high performance with zero exhaust emissions. And yes, the Dodge looks suspiciously like a Lotus Europa – following in the footsteps of Tesla using an Elise as a base for their electric roadster.
“The Dodge EV sets a new standard for what can be expected in electric-drive vehicles,” said Lou Rhodes, Vice President – Advance Vehicle Engineering, and President – ENVI. “The electric-vehicle technology enables a fun-to-drive performance sports car and helps redefine the vision of an environmentally responsible vehicle for the Dodge brand.”
The electric-drive system consists of three primary components: a 200 kW (268 horsepower) electric motor, an advanced lithium-ion battery and an integrated power controller.
The 200 kW electric-drive motor generates 650 Nm (480 lb.ft.) of torque. The instant high torque of the electric-drive motor delivers outstanding performance, accelerating the Dodge EV to 60 mph in less than five seconds, with quarter-mile times of 13 seconds. The Dodge EV has a top speed of more than 120 mph.
Working with the latest advanced lithium-ion battery technology, the Dodge EV has a continuous driving range of 150 to 200 miles – more than triple the average daily commute of most consumers. Recharging the vehicle is a simple one-step process: plugging into a standard 110-volt household outlet for eight hours. The recharge time can be cut in half to four hours by using a typical 220-volt household appliance power outlet.
The Dodge EV offers driving enthusiasts a performance sports car that can be driven to work every day – without consuming gasoline or producing tailpipe emissions.
The Jeep EV development vehicle is a Range-extended Electric Vehicle that provides a glimpse into the future of a “Go Anywhere, Do Anything” vehicle with renowned Jeep Wrangler capability.
The Jeep EV Range-extended Electric Vehicle uses an electric motor, an advanced lithium-ion battery system, and a small gasoline engine with an integrated electric generator to produce additional energy to power the electric-drive system when needed. The 200 kW (268 horsepower) electric motor generates 400 Nm (295 lb.ft.) of torque. With approximately eight gallons of gasoline, the Jeep EV has a range of 400 miles, including 40 miles of zero fuel-consumption, zero-emissions, all-electric operation.
“We are also exploring four-wheel drive, in-wheel electric motors to demonstrate the full reach of ENVI’s advanced electric-drive technologies,” said Rhodes.
The instant high torque of the electric-drive motor and the ability to precisely control each wheel independently results in off-road capability ideally suited for the Jeep brand, without compromising on-road driving capability.
The Chrysler EV development vehicle is a Range-extended Electric Vehicle that demonstrates another possible application of ENVI electric-drive technology in the segment-leading Chrysler Grand Voyager minivan.
“With the Chrysler EV, we are able to blend seven-passenger capability and the luxury of the Chrysler minivan with electric-drive technology, demonstrating family practicality with zero compromise,” said Rhodes. “ENVI’s electric-drive development vehicles showcase our accelerated application of electric-drive systems into a wide range of vehicles in Chrysler’s future product portfolio.”
The Chrysler EV combines the electric-drive components of an Electric Vehicle with an integrated small-displacement engine and generator to produce additional electricity to power the electric-drive system when needed. This provides all of the positive attributes of an Electric Vehicle and extends the driving range to be equivalent to today’s gasoline-powered vehicles – without compromises.
The Chrysler EV uses a 190 kW (255 horsepower) motor, producing 350 Nm (258 lb.ft.) of torque, providing 0 to 60 mph acceleration in approximately nine seconds. The Chrysler EV Range-extended Electric Vehicle can drive 40 miles on all-electric power, and boasts a range of 400 miles on approximately eight gallons of gasoline. This makes the Chrysler EV the perfect fuel-efficient family vehicle.
“We have a social responsibility to our consumers to deliver environmentally friendly, fuel efficient, advanced electric vehicles, and our intention is to meet that responsibility quickly and more broadly than any other automobile manufacturer,” said Bob Nardelli, Chairman and CEO – Chrysler LLC. “The introduction of the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge electric vehicles provides a glimpse of the very near future, and demonstrates that we are serious and well along in the development of bringing electric vehicles to market.”
The development of Chrysler’s Electric Vehicles and Range-extended Electric Vehicles is led by ENVI – representing the first four letters of “environmental” – the Company’s in-house organisation that was formed to focus on electric-drive production vehicles and related advanced technologies. The development of electric-drive systems for future Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles is maturing quickly.
“ENVI was created just over one year ago with the strategic intent to develop electric-drive vehicles quickly for Chrysler, and it is surpassing expectations,” said Tom LaSorda – Vice Chairman and President. “With ENVI, Chrysler is developing technology to bring Electric Vehicles and extremely fuel-efficient Range-extended Electric Vehicles to market.”