New York 2009: Performance, the past and the hoped for future

The Dodge Viper sits in the shadow of the Circuit EV prototype

Out in the middle of the Dodge display here at the Javits center lies the past and future of performance cars. Sitting on the floor is the epitome of old school performance, the Viper SRT-10. With a rip-roaring 8.4-liter V10, the Viper accelerates at a rate few cars on the road today can match. In doing so however, it consumes prodigious amounts of refined petroleum.

Just a few feet away, highlighted on the turntable, was the Dodge Circuit. Based on the Lotus Europa, the battery-powered Circuit is likely to be the first of several electric drive vehicles that Chrysler plans to produce starting in 2010. While it's not quite as fast as the Viper at this point, 0-60 times in the 5-second range are nothing to be embarrassed about. Unlike its long-nosed sibling, the Circuit emits nothing nor does it consume any petroleum products directly. Now if only Chrysler can stay in business long enough...

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