The photo above, from Chrysler's press conference at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, is nothing but things that are no more. The gorgeous 200C EV has evaporated. The gentlemen on the podium, Jim Press and Tom LaSorda, have gone their various ways. And the background is arrayed with ENVI electric cars that are all (most likely) gone, as well as the division that created them. Everything swallowed by waves in Chrysler's Year of the Storm.
Two months ago we went for a ride in the Dodge Circuit EV. We can now say with confidence that it is worth waiting 70+ days to make the shift to the left side of the car, following a brief spin around Cobo Hall in a prototype vehicle during the SAE World Congress here in Detroit.
Chrysler chieftan Bob Nardelli sent a letter to "all employees, dealers, suppliers and other stakeholders" to explain what's happening at the smallest of the Detroit trio. Everything done now falls under one of three umbrellas: enhancing the core, which is improving products, quality, and dealer and customer relations; extending the business with new products or by growing existing products into new areas; and expanding the market with global alliances to fill gaps in the product portfolio.
The Chevy Volt has drummed up an absolutely huge amount of hype for General Motors. The car isn't expected to be sold this year or even next near. No, those eager to lower their petroleum usage for transportation in a GM bowtie will need to wait until late 2010 before the new car is expected to be available, and that's assuming everything continues to go relatively smoothly with the car's development. But General Motors has still gotten plenty of publicity, and most of it positive, for even star
CNBC's Phil Lebeau got a sneak peek at the new EVs Chrysler is developing, and it looks like Auburn Hills is pulling a Tesla, among other things. The yellow Dodge EV you see here is basically an electrified Lotus Europa. Presumably equipped with lithium ion battery power, the Dodge EV has a reported operating range of 150 - 200 miles and can be plugged in to household 110 or 220 outlets. Figure a four-hour charge on the latter, and 8 or so on the former. Zero-to-sixty is said to be under 5 secon
With the Democratic National Convention wrapping up tonight and the Republicans getting ready for their convention next week, this is a good time to take a look at one of the automakers who is/will be at both events. Chrysler's VP of external affairs, John Bozzella, talked about his experiences in Denver this week trying to get "Congressional support for funding the auto industry's technology transformation to build a new fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles." Please, don't call it a bailout.
Chrysler's efforts to develop more environmentally-friendly vehicles have been distinctly overshadowed by the drama of their divorce from Chrysler and that 800lb green gorilla called Volt. New CEO Bob Nardelli is continuing to shake things up, though. Just a week after hiring Jim Press away from Toyota, Chrysler has set up a new group called ENVI.
Perhaps growing a little tired of all the media attention being focused on their competitors electrically driven vehicles such as GM's E-Flex and fuel cell work, Chrysler has announced ENVI. ENVI is a new organization within Chrysler that will operate as a sort of skunk-works focused on electrically driven vehicles. The new team is being setup to function semi-independently like a start-up company.