Chrysler Reveals Details of Lotus-Based Electric Sports Car

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
chrysler reveals details of lotus based electric sports car

Chrysler dropped the other shoe, pre-bailout PR-wise. It’s officially official: ChryCo’s ironically named ENVI group is creating three new electric vehicles: a Dodge sports car (based on the Lotus Europa), a Chrysler minivan and a Jeep. Chrysler claims the plug-in models will go into production as a “fleet” of 100 vehicles next year. They’ll go on sale to the general public in that most magic of model years 2010. The quick and dirty: the Dodge sports car is electric-only, with Chrysler claiming a range of up to 150 miles. The Jeep and Chrysler minivan have theoretical ranges of a Volt-like 40 miles, with “small” gasoline engines on board to “power the electric-drive system.” This sounds more like a generator to recharge the batteries, rather than an engine to simply power the car once the go-juice runs out. Recharge time for the sports car is claimed to be 4/8 hours, depending on your household voltage. As for the Jeep and minivan, they would also plug-in to recharge the batteries; the ICE is for long drives only. As for the type of batteries, site of production, or most importantly – price – we have no idea. Chrysler, LLC may not have any idea about those either.

Update: Between the Lines Editorial Posted Here

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  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Sep 24, 2008
    psarhjinian: Releasing an hybrid or hybrid/electric car means going up against Toyota (and to a lesser degree, Honda) on their own well-established turf. The domestics, quite frankly, are chicken–or at least aren’t willing to invest the money in a low-margin product with dubious returns, selling against a cash-flush and image-endowed competitor (aka “chicken”). And I have to wonder - why they don't just use existing vehicles and hybridize them? Might mean a new floorpan but the rest of the car already exists in the parts bin. The Cobalt, the Astra, the Aveo and the other versions of these same cars aren't very compelling but they might be with a hybrid drivetrain. Build several and drive them across the country to gauge customer interest. Drive them from dealer to dealer and advertise their arrival so customers can come drive them. One to look at and one to drive on site. Tour in the spring, sell in the fall. Now they have a desirable product without all the other vehicle development costs! They only have the develop the hybrid design and the floor pan (to accommodate the batteries). The car corps need to spend like a mortal person and use what they already have in creative ways. Again GM has plenty of good lightweight (relatively speaking) products in Europe and other markets. Bring them over, hybridize them and ADVERTISE them! I still haven't seen an Astra or an advertisement for an Astra. Imagine a Corsa sold next to an Aveo. Both small cars from the same company but selling them together offers the customer more choices. It's the only way I can justify the G3/Aveo combo. Same car but slightly different style. Don't try to fool me into believing it is a whole new car though. Sell them to me like Steak n'Shake sells me a milkshake. Here is a chocolate shake, and here is a strawberry shake. Take your choice. Otherwise, they are the same car and both are good choices. This is a fundamental problem with their current dealer network for me. People don't want to be taken for idiots and I know I have always felt like the car companies were trying to put one over on us by selling the same products under different wrappers. I wouldn't feel half as aggravated if the Pontiac and the Chevy versions were sold side by side as the same vehicle with a different look and a different name.

  • Shaker Shaker on Sep 24, 2008

    What they fail to mention is that merely "dropping in" new tech into a time-worn platform will not result in an "efficient" vehicle; the battery tech doesn't exist that could make a Jeep Wrangler (with its heavy, body on frame construction and piss-poor aerodynamics) go 40 miles; there would need to be extensive use of expensive, lightweight materials, lowering of height, etc. -- in the end, you woudn't have a Jeep anymore; and if it had any "off-road" capability at all, it would cost a hell of a lot more than is does now. (Stop blowing smoke up our asses to get bailouts, puh-leeze!)

  • 1996MEdition 1996MEdition on Sep 24, 2008

    joeaverage: Have you been to a Steak & Shake recently? Not just chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Sep 24, 2008

    Yeah, I know. :) They've got about ten different shakes if you include the side-by-sides. I've sworn them off. Like an SUV - for occasional use only. Love their shakes and their shakes love me (right around the midsection).