Click above for hi-res gallery of the Dodge EV in the wild

While a lot of the legwork was done for them by Lotus, we still have to give Chrysler a little credit for getting an electric vehicle prototype on the road so quickly. When we first saw the Dodge EV a couple of months ago, it looked like it was ready to roll, with a Tesla-like blend of Lotus platform and electric powerpack. Soon after we heard that the car was likely to make it to production, with a delivery date that would challenge the Chevrolet Volt. While it had appeared that Chrysler was way behind its domestic rivals in developing an electric car, we know that through their GEM subsidiary, Chrysler has actually accumulated a lot of EV expertise and become the nation's leading electric car seller in the process.

The Dodge EV is essentially a Lotus Europa, but uses lithium batteries and a 268 hp electric motor in place of the standard 2.0L four cylinder engine and transmission. It promises a range of 150-200 miles and a 0-60 time of under 5 seconds. It's a full-blown, plug-in EV, just like the Tesla Roadster, and should require a 4-hour recharge from a 220V outlet or 8 hours on a 110. To help launch Chrysler's new ENVI electric car division, the Dodge EV has been traveling the show circuit, but today we spotted it at one of our favorite local cruise-ins.

It attracted quite a crowd. Not surprisingly, many folks at the show mistook it for a Lotus until they saw the Dodge badges. Even then a lot of people figured it was some type of joint venture between the two firms. Most were amazed to learn the car might be in Dodge showrooms by 2010. Try as we might we couldn't wrestle the keys from the Chrysler reps. Hopefully the car and the company make it through our current economic crisis so we can sample one when they hit the streets.

Related GalleryDodge EV in the wild

Photos copyright ©2008 Frank Filipponio/Weblogs, Inc.