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Dodge Circuit - Click above for high-res image gallery

According to a report from Reuters, Chrysler has disbanded its ENVI program and integrated the group back into its normal product development organization. Former ENVI head Lou Rhodes will now take the title of group line executive in charge of electric vehicle development and will manage that group for both Chrysler and Fiat. Though we weren't exactly expecting this change, the move isn't entirely surprising.

At this point, we don't yet know what this reorganization means for the electric vehicles that Chrysler had previously promised to put into production, the first of which was to be the Lotus-based Dodge Circuit that was hopefully supposed to be on the market by late 2010.

Fiat CEO and newly-appointed head of Chrysler Sergio Marchionne said earlier this week during Chrysler's painfully long new product plan presentation that electric vehicles are still a very tough proposition with current battery technology. In fact, the automaker expects that less than two percent of its lineup will be electric by 2014, which would amount to fewer than 60,000 vehicles per year.

[Source: Reuters]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I guess Chrysler wants to focus on its bread and butter cars, rather than niche electric cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This hybrid/EV hype is nice but in the long term. Chrysler now has acces to Multijet diesels with almost Prius III MPG (1.6 Multijet). In 2010 with Multijet II injector they are going to reduce NOX by 20% more, and CO2 by 10% (reaching the 110-120 gr. mark). Plus turbo+multiair is also nice, they are now reaching old gen diesels MPG. Ford hybrids sucks. Toyota is an exception and still their MPG is not revolutionary comparing to diesel/petrol downsize+tc. In next 5-10 years batteries will improve a lot. Best equation is to have a small offering so as to adequate to upcoming advances, and when cost/product reach a good ratio, then yes mass market them.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This will be a major disappointment for the three people who didn't think the Chrysler electric cars were vaporware.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Uh, no, this is bringing them into the start-to-finish process of building a car, not disbanding vaporware.
      • 5 Years Ago
      if dodge can put that on the market for ~35k max, they'll have a waiting list
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're dreaming.

        What they need to focus on, is that Town & Country EREV and 200C/Sebring replacement. That's where some money will be made on this tech.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @ oZ" Uh, no, this is bringing them into the start-to-finish process of building a car, not disbanding vaporware"

      Almost. Since the Circuit was car based on an existing *Lotus* vehicle, they weren't really working on the "start- to- finish process of building a car". They're still the only one of the "big three" that don't have the in-house engineering resources to develop an electric car or hybrid from their own product line. This is just more evidence that Chrylser has been the weak sister of Detroit for many years now.

      But, considering the cost and still dubious business case for electrics and hybrids, it was wise of them to drop the program.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As far as the other EVs (eg, the Circuit), I think kinda do know what happened. Since the presentation last week only had one confirmed EV in it--the Ram version of the Fiat Doblo, due in 2012--and two small PHEV fleets (Ram Truck and minivan), I would assume everything else is dead...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Was this a surprise to anyone?