Lou Rhodes and the Dodge Circuit prototype

When Chrysler announced the creation of its ENVI division to spearhead the development of electric vehicles back in September 2007, it was seen by most as a knee-jerk response to the introduction of the Chevrolet Volt. When Chrysler debuted a trio of concepts a few months later at last year's Detroit Auto Show they were seen as the usual vapor that would never see production. Same story when another trio of converted production cars were shown last September. Compared to the Chevy Volt, these were seen as a half-baked attempt to grab some of the EV spot-light without building an optimized dedicated vehicle.

Last fall, Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli announced that at least one of those vehicles would go into production by 2010. Last week Green Fuels Forescast sat down with ENVI President Lou Rhodes and Executive Engineer Doug Quigley to talk about the electric drive systems being developed in Auburn Hills. Rhodes and Quigley revealed some very interesting information about air vs. liquid cooled batteries, range-extender sizes and more. It turns out the development of these electric vehicles actually started back in late 2005, before the Volt was even conceived. Rhodes also promised that additional announcements about which vehicle would be built and who would supply batteries will be coming in the next few weeks.

[Source: Green Fuels Forecast]

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