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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."