• Sep 23rd 2008 at 1:27PM
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Click the Dodge EV for a high res gallery

Chrysler is playing a massive game of catchup in the electric drive sweepstakes right now and today is rolling out four different vehicles that it's working on. Three of the four take ideas from the company's 2008 Detroit Show concepts and are currently badged simply as Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep EV. Like the Dodge ZEO, the Dodge is a lithium battery powered sports car. The EV begins with a Lotus Europa and dispenses with the 2.0L four cylinder engine and transmission in favor of a 268 hp electric motor. In much the same fashion as a certain Silicon Valley based start-up, the only way to fuel up the EV is with a plug. It will take 4 hours to charge up from a 220V outlet or twice that long if only half the voltage is available.

The other two concepts that Chrysler showed were both ER-EVs. The EcoVoyager used a fuel cell to keep a sufficient quantity of electrons available while the Jeep Renegade used a small diesel engine driving a generator. Since neither of these vehicles is ready for production yet, Chrysler's ENVI team has chosen the closest analogs they have as the basis for production models. Both the Town and Country and Wrangler Unlimited EVs are supposed to be able to move their occupants up to 40 miles without any direct combustion. Once the battery packs have reached depletion level an range extender kicks in to keep the fun going. Read on after the jump for more information.

[Source: Chrysler]

While Product Development boss spoke of wheel motors for the Jeep during a CNBC interview earlier today, the actual vehicle uses the same 268 hp motor as the Dodge sports car. In place of the diesel engine used as a range extender on the Renegade concept, the Wrangler revealed today uses a small gas engine integrated with the generator. According to the press release the ENVI team is examining the use of individual wheel motors which could make for some very entertaining performance on the Rubicon trail.

For those that need to haul around large volumes of gear or munchkins, the Town and Country EV steps in for the egg shaped EcoVoyager. Like the Jeep, the van's battery is kept going by a small gas engine/generator set. Both the Jeep and Chrysler have the battery packs installed under the floor just as in the concept models.

The GEM NEV based PeaPod will start off as a new neighborhood electric vehicle with a sci-fi looking body. The initial version will retain the lead acid batteries used in GEMs today along with their 25 mph top speed. Chrysler plans to use the PeaPod as the basis for a new electric city car that can operate at higher speeds with a longer range. For that application the lead batteries will be replaced by more advanced units.

Although Chrysler started down this path many months after General Motors started work on the Volt, they hope to achieve roughly the same start of production in late 2010 for at least one of these vehicles. The question is will Chrysler be able to meet the same performance targets with vehicles based on existing models rather than a vehicle designed with such an installation in mind? At the very least, Chrysler intends to have at least 100 of these vehicles on the road in government, business and internal test fleets during 2009.

One of the big factors in the final look of the Chevy Volt was the need for aerodynamic efficiency to maximize regenerative braking capability. Clearly none of the Chrysler vehicles, particularly the Jeep have been optimized in this fashion. The T&C and Wrangler clearly have more space to install batteries for extra range but that would add significantly to the cost of the vehicles.

Chrysler LLC Surges Forward with Production-intent Electric Vehicles

Company Introduces Three Advanced Electric-drive Vehicle Prototypes

* One targeted to be produced in 2010 for consumers in North American markets, and European markets after 2010
* Chrysler LLC to have approximately 100 electric vehicles on the road in government, business, utility and development fleets in 2009
* Chrysler electric-drive technology to be applied to front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive, and body-on-frame four-wheel-drive platforms
* Dodge EV: All-electric Performance Sports Car
* Jeep® EV: Wrangler Range-extended Electric Vehicle to allow customers to roam the planet and take care of it at the same time
* Chrysler EV: Town & Country Range-extended Electric Vehicle
* Chrysler and General Electric pursue joint project with U.S. Department of Energy

Auburn Hills, Mich., Sep 23, 2008 - Actions speak louder than words.

Chrysler LLC announced today that the Company and its ENVI organization have new production-intent, advanced electric-drive technology packaged in three different vehicles – one for each of its brands, Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge.

Chrysler will select one electric-drive model to be produced in 2010 for consumers in North American markets, and European markets after 2010. Additionally, approximately 100 Chrysler electric vehicles will be on the road in government, business, utility and Chrysler development fleets in 2009.

The Company said 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 here today, Chrysler revealed its electric-drive prototypes – Dodge EV, Jeep EV and Chrysler EV – and demonstrated the driving performance and capability of each.

"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."

ENVI Organization
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 organization 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 – Chrysler LLC. "With ENVI, Chrysler is developing technology to bring Electric Vehicles and extremely fuel-efficient Range-extended Electric Vehicles to market."

Electric Vehicle Technology
Chrysler's Electric Vehicles utilize 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 tailpipe 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, Chrysler LLC. "Electric Vehicles provide the opportunity to fulfill social responsibility, reduce dependency on foreign oil, and eliminate monthly gasoline bills, while delivering performance and utility that our customers desire."

Range-extended Electric Vehicle Technology
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.

Range-extended Electric Vehicles offer environmental responsibility without giving up driving range, comfort or utility.

Dodge EV
The Dodge EV development Electric Vehicle is a two-passenger, rear-wheel-drive sports car that marries high performance with zero tailpipe emissions.

"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 N•m (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.

Jeep EV
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 combines Wrangler's unmatched off-road capability with the ultimate "Tread Lightly" mindset by providing nature ambassadors with the ability to roam the planet and take care of it at the same time.

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 N•m (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.

Chrysler EV
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 Town & Country minivan.

"With the Chrysler EV, we are able to blend seven-passenger capability and the luxury of the Chrysler Town & Country 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 N•m (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.

The knowledge and experience gained from the Chrysler EV will be applied to other front-wheel-drive applications in Chrysler's portfolio.

Chrysler LLC Electric-vehicle Consumer Web Site
Chrysler LLC has launched a Web site – www.Chryslergoeselectric.com – to allow consumers to view the latest updates on Electric Vehicles and Range-extended Electric Vehicles from the Company. Content will include videos, photography and news, and visitors can sign up for updates. In addition, the site features a blog where consumers can interact directly with the Company.

Department of Energy Cooperative Agreement
Chrysler and General Electric are jointly pursuing a project with the United States Department of Energy to explore advanced energy-storage technology.

"Chrysler's partnership with General Electric combines the electric-drive technology demonstrated in the Chrysler Electric Vehicles, with GE's research and development of advanced energy storage systems," said Klegon. "Our collective goal working with the DOE is to develop a new, integrated energy-storage system to make electric vehicle battery packs smaller and significantly less expensive than current designs."

Chrysler and GE will develop and evaluate dual-battery solutions based on GE's unique technology.

"One of the challenges with electric vehicles is finding a battery with the correct balance between power – for example, during vehicle acceleration – and energy for long driving range," said Klegon. "We believe that combining two unique battery chemistries – one biased toward power and the other toward energy – into a single battery pack is very promising for a future Chrysler Electric Vehicle."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is great news.

      However.. there is one thing that I am a bit worried about... what about power supply? Power is cheap now.. But what when we have 5 million electric cars charging every night? This is going to be a huge increase in power requirements for the country, let alone the World. Has someone thought about this? Will we have a power crisis when we get to that point? Would be interesting to hear your comments..

      (PS: I know, for now... it's nothing to worry about... and it's not going to change my opinion about buying an Electric Vehicle.. I just want to hear whether anyone has looked into the (very real) problem that might occur "down the line")
        • 8 Months Ago
        Thanks. That's the kind of info I was looking for.
        • 8 Months Ago
        "According to a recent U.S. Department of Energy study, there is so much excess energy on the U.S. grid nightly that if every light-duty car and truck in America today used plug-in hybrid technology, 73 percent of them could be plugged in and “fueled” without constructing a single new power plant."

        There is a lot of info out there about it. Honestly we use so much electricity as it is, adding electric cars to every household would not be that much of an increase percentage-wise. Also the overwhelming majority of the electricity we use is during the day so the strain would be during downtime anyway. It could actually make the grid more 'efficient' considering the load would be more balanced.
        • 8 Months Ago
        My primary concern with all-electric vehicles would be power outages. Instead of only my alarm clock not waking me up, my car's battery wouldn't have enough juice to get me to work. There have been multiple times in the past several years where areas where I have lived where the power has went out for days or weeks at a time.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sam, you wrote:
      "One of the big factors in the final look of the Chevy Volt was the need for aerodynamic efficiency to maximize regenerative braking capability."

      What does the aero efficiency have to do with regen braking? I think that you meant "maximize range".
      • 7 Years Ago
      Just a warning: apart from the Dodge EV, these are heavier, higher drag vehicles than a Volt, and are going to need a lot more power to go the same distance. They're using A123 cells, which is one of the types that was being considered by GM when they said that the Volt's battery pack would cost ~$10k. So, I'm sure you can do the math -- you're looking at probably a $20-$25k battery pack. $25k is probably more realistic. The Dodge EV is based on a Lotus Europa, which should allow for ~200Wh/mi. 150-200 mi = 35kWh = a ~$20k pack. The upside, of course, is that unlike with Tesla, these packs should never need replacing.

      Due to low volumes, a full electric drivetrain currently tends to cost more than an equivalent gasoline drivetrain. Let's say it's an extra $5k. Our base prices are ~$25k for the Jeep and the Town and Country, and $~70k for the "Dodge" (Lotus Europa). I'd bet that they could hit a ~$85k base price on the Dodge EV and a ~$55k base price on the Jeep and the Town&Country while still being profitable. Actually, the profit margin on minivans and offroad vehicles is significant, so the could probably do those for $50k and still be profitable.

      Now, of course, prices will go down significantly as production ramps up. That won't drop the price too much on the Dodge EV, since most of its costs will still be in general vehicle fabrication, but it'd make a big difference for the other two. Halving battery costs would mean ~$75k for the Dodge and ~$40-45k for the Jeep and the Town & Country. Increased production of drivetrain components would also probably cut off that premium for an electric drivetrain, putting the Dodge back on par with its gasoline Lotus cousins at $70k and the Jeep and Town and Country down to a more affordable ~$35-$40k (which would have a significant total cost of ownership advantage to their gasoline equivalents -- a five year loan would have roughly equivalent fuel + loan payment prices, and you'd save from there on out). So, if they subsidize down to these levels for the first few years while everything ramps up, their subsidy will then turn into a profit margin.

      All in all, I think it could prove to be a winning strategy, although it certainly is a gamble.
        • 8 Months Ago
        "...and are going to need a lot more power to go the same distance."

        I suppose you meant energy and not power.
        Regarding battery size and cosr, Chrysler released preliminary specifications at http://www.chryslerllc.com/pdf/envi/EV_4brands.pdf
        It says 26 kWh for the Dodge, 27 kWh for the Jeep and 22 kWh for the Chrysler.
        The 26 kWh for the Dodge looks abnormally low to me, but if we use 10000$ for the 16 kWh of the Volt's pack, this can give an indication that the battery pack could cost between 13750$ and 16875$
      • 7 Years Ago
      At first glance this looks like a pretty exciting lineup. However. . .

      The Jeep and the minivan both appear to be existing Chrysler products converted to a PHEV powertrain. The Dodge EV is a Lotus Europa converted to electric power. The NEV is a rebodied GEM.

      This is. . . small shop stuff. These are mere conversions. What I don't see is anything like the Chevy Volt where they designed an electric vehicle from a blank (or mostly blank) sheet of paper.

      I guess you've got to start somewhere. If the cars work, what does it matter if they are conversions? So. . . I'm not complaining, I'm glad to see Chrysler working on the problem. I just think it's pretty obvious that this is a quick-and-dirty scramble to catch up with other companies.

        • 7 Years Ago
        I know this is a late reply but....

        It makes more sense to have conversion to EV at this point. They aren't 100% of the market or anywhere close to that. It will cost less to produces them when Chrysler doesn't have to totally redesign and built a totally different body of platform. I believe if there is a Dodge EV similar to that it will be a Chrysler designed platform.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Everyone has two phases of 110V coming into the house. These two lines are 180 degrees out of phase, so line-to-line between these phases is 220V (the voltages magnitudes add). Line to neutral (the white wire in most home wiring) on either line is 110V.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Chrysler is doing some unorthodox things bu it is being very creative.

      I will build the Nissan full size Pickups starting next year. The It will really be a Dodger Ram in disguise.

      Chrysler is building a minivan for teh VW. the fabled VW minivan wil really be a Voyager.

      Menawhile Chrysler has no cars below the Toyota Corolla Honda Civic sized vehicles. So rather than invest billions, it has arranged to acquire a "B" three vehicles are well worth bringing to market, as they are superior products, in their market segments.

      Now Chrysler has joined with another automaker, Lotus to produce a EV Sports car with some panache. Both will acquire some green-wash at relatively little cost, as each provides what it already possesses.

      Lotus has always been a proponent of light weight and superior handling as the correct way to build sports cars rather than with raw HP. Exactly what an electric sports car needs. Lotus wil supply the bodies and chassis, and Chrysler will supply a 250+ HP advanced Lithium-Ion battery BEV drive-train.

      That is a Tesla killer that can come to market at half the price and hundreds of times the volume of the mythical Tesla. Tesla just ballyhooed the fact that it has built car #9 in it three years of "mass manufacture".

      If the price is right, it could be a Miata killer too, with a Chrysler drive-train, and manufactured in higher volume Chrysler factories. The superior Lotus handling will make it a bundle of fun to drive. Might this be the future Dodge Demon?

      We sahll see how many peopel ther really are ttonuy a two seat eelctric car like the EV-1. One that gets twice the range of the 60-80 mile range of the EV-1, and twice the performance.

      Even the GEM is receiving some needed engineering love, (and money), and may well evolve into an electric City car, while it continues to manufacture its line of NEVs that are sold worldwide.

      I would have bet that there would be a two-mode hybrid FWD Minivan for sale in 2010. It might even have a PHEV version. Now, Chrysler is displaying an EREV. Which wil appear ? Or perhaps all three? More likely, the EREV will be developed for the minivan replacement due in 2011 or 2012.

      • 7 Years Ago
      "It will take 4 hours to charge up from a 220V outlet or twice that long if only half the voltage is available."

      Another way that the US is behind Europe?
        • 7 Years Ago
        I stand corrected.
        Thank you for the condescending reply.
        • 7 Years Ago
        HEY PHIL ... You Dont Stand Corrected..... Though it true that most homes in America have 220v ,...it cannot be used Daily for charging your EV...It already has a job it cannot share,....running your Electric Dryer or big Fridge/Freezer or AC unit....If you wanted, what would be called a Dedicated Line for your car, you would need to call and pay an electrician to install another from the main junction box to your garage...... Dont be so quick to cave to smart mouth know it alls who are here to just find fault in people instead of contributing to the greater good ......thatzit moe laters
        • 7 Years Ago
        Virtually every house in the US has 220V. Do some research before you write.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Excellent comment back, Phil.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I suspect that the Dodge EV is going to be made by Proton of Malaysia for Chrysler, as they own Lotus and have demonstrated an EV virtually identical to the Dodge EV. Labor costs are lower in Malaysia, helping to keep costs down, but the shipping costs could be higher.

      The Dodge EV is a bit slower and has a shorter range than the Tesla Roadster, but it also is likely to be several thousand dollars less. There are a lot of potential customers that would be willing to accept the reduced performance for a substantial cash savings!

      • 7 Years Ago
      I would think that of all those options, the Jeep would be the worst choice for in-wheel motors. While it's true that electric motors do provide wonderful torque and rotation control the off-roaders will love, it is also true that electric motors don't like water (no sir, not one little bit). I would think it would be VERY hard to seal a motor well enough to be able to park it in mud up to the door sills, ford a river etc., and have the system last 10 years. I suppose you could just put a breaker on the power supply, so when water does get in you can winch yourself out of the bog, drain the motor case, and flip the breaker back on... maybe.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Convential motors don't like water either. That's why they are sealed, so that water does not get into the crank case, chamber, rockers, etc. It wasn't always like that; so the same operation needs to be done (has already been done) with electric motors.

        I second the example of pod motors on ships. They are in very broad use today, and learning examples from that is a great start (I bet the in-wheel electric motors are already sealed).
        • 7 Years Ago
        PML Flightlink makes in-wheel motors for cars. The also make anchor winch motors designed to be used underwater, and they make pod motors for ships, also designed to run underwater.
        Sealing a motor wouldn't be harder than sealing a conventional car's driveshafts.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "My primary concern with all-electric vehicles would be power outages. Instead of only my alarm clock not waking me up, my car's battery wouldn't have enough juice to get me to work. There have been multiple times in the past several years where areas where I have lived where the power has went out for days or weeks at a time."

      Your vehicle will still run because it has the gasoline powered range extender. The gas engine will spin a generator on the vehicle that provides enough current to run the vehicle, until the batteries can be recharged. So a power outage should not be a major issue.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh my... we do need to speak of costs, but a potential 'Tesla Killer' all electric AND an ER-EV Jeep?

      Both are green-mirror replacements for my current vehicles.

      Chrysler has just thrown a very very large hat into the ring... now can they wear it?
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