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Steane Klose | Nov 20, 2008

Chrysler LLC's CEO Bob Nardelli has just gone cap-in-hand to the US government, hoping to secure a $US7billion share of an expected $US25billion tax-payer funded US carmaker emergency fund (needed to keep the doors open for a few more months). But that doesn’t mean the Chrysler crew have been sitting idle back at the workshop. At this year's Los Angeles Auto Show the troubled car maker has presented not one, but three advanced production-intent electric vehicle prototypes.

This year the Chrysler stand features the Dodge EV, Jeep EV and Chrysler EV and what’s more, Chrysler has recently announced that at least one of these models will be produced in 2010 for the North American market (with the European markets to follow after 2010). Additionally, the plan is to have close to one hundred electric vehicles on the road in government, business and development fleets in 2009.

Chrysler EV

It may surprise you to learn that Chrysler is well into the development of advanced production-intent electric vehicles (with help from Lotus), and will apply its electric-drive technology to its front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive and body-on-frame four-wheel-drive platforms in the next several years.

“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,” Bob Nardelli, Chairman and CEO – Chrysler LLC, said.

Keeping the EV concept relatively simple, Chrysler’s Electric Vehicles utilise just three primary components. 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.

Jeep EV

In addition to pure EV’s Chrysler is also developing Chevy Volt style 'Range-extended Electric Vehicles' (REEV), a concept that combines the electric-drive components of the Electric Vehicle with a small two-cylinder petrol engine and integrated electric generator, to produce additional energy to power the electric-drive system when needed. The REEV’s are expected to provide the positive attributes of an Electric Vehicle with the driving range equivalent to today’s petrol-powered vehicles – and no compromises in performance.

“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.”

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