Chrysler Shocks Electric Car Timeline With New Plug-ins for 2010

Chrysler dodge-ev-ss-yellowIn a surprise move here amid struggling sales numbers from its dealers and fuel-efficient buzz from competitors, Chrysler announced that it’s charging into the electric vehicle market a lot sooner than expected. The automaker just unveiled a trio of battery-powered vehicles—including an all-electric, 200-mile-range Dodge sports car that we revved up near its 120-mph top speed on the test track and think could give the Tesla Roadster a run for its money—and plans to bring one of them to market by 2010, aligning Chrysler with the timetable for General Motors’ Chevy Volt.

Chrysler officials, who reinforced their case for an entirely hybrid fleet at least partially powered by batteries, said at a news conference on Tuesday that they’re aiming to sell all three cars—extended-range plug-in versions of a Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler Town & Country were unveiled in addition to the Dodge EV—within a decade. But how fast they reach dealerships, CEO Bob Nardelli cautioned, may well depend on whether the federal government comes through with a package of loan guarantees for Detroit’s Big Three.

“You’re going to see the electrification of all vehicles” in the years ahead, said Frank Klegon, Chrysler’s executive vice president for product development. That will range from full battery power to simpler systems, like Stop/Start, which temporarily shuts off an engine at a stoplight. Indeed, Klegon forecasts that “at least 50 percent of the market” will consists of pure EVs or extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs) by around 2020.

The former category very well could include the Dodge EV. If the look is familiar, that’s because the body and platform are borrowed from the Lotus Europa sportscar (not the Lotus Elise, as you might first imagine). There have been minor modifications made to squeeze in a 200-kilowatt motor and a lithium-ion battery pack that, in production, would yield somewhere between 150 and 200 miles on a charge. Doug Quigley, engineering lead for Chrysler’s ENVI advanced powertrain division that is also working on three concepts we saw at the Detroit auto show this year, said the rear-drive two-seater should be able to launch from 0-to-60 in under 5 seconds. He wouldn’t say how much under, but the goal is to be faster than the Lotus with a target of the mid-13-second range for the 1/4-mile run. And if our 20-minute test drive on the 2-mile track here is any indication, that should be very doable. The new EV handles like a charm, with sharp steering and some serious giddyup—we could feel the 100-plus-mph beneath us while hearing nary a thing.

The Jeep and Chrysler plug-ins, like the Volt, both fall into the extended-range category to combine battery and gasoline power. And like GM, Chrysler is aiming for a 40-mile range on electric charges alone, claiming that both vehicles should be able to hit 400 miles with an 8- or 9-gal. tank of gas. Chrysler modified its newest Jeep Wrangler for the white plug-in truck unveiled here today—and that should mean the same off-road capabilities. The minivan is a slightly upmodded version of the popular Town & Country, with the underbody tubs—used to hide the Stow-and-Go seats in a conventional Chrysler minivan—housing the large battery packs.

So which of the three new electric cars will come to market first? Chrysler isn’t saying—in part, President Tom LaSorda acknowledged, because the company has yet to decide. There are serious questions to answer, including what batteries the company will use—and who will supply them. The good news, Klegon said, is that the number of potential battery vendors has “tripled” in recent years. Coming up with reliable, high-power batteries is a clear challenge, but there’s also the issue of cost. Lithium-ion technology is phenomenally expensive, but Chrysler, like its competitors, believes that in high volume, costs should plunge.

Meanwhile, the automaker is launching a new joint venture with General Electric (where Chrysler CEO Nardelli first rose to prominence) aimed at developing even more advanced battery systems. One approach that the partners plan to study would pair two different types of batteries, such as lithium-ion and sodium-sulfur, to see if they can yield improved levels of power and performance.

Admittedly short on cash and struggling with sales, Chrysler officials recently have spent a lot of time in Washington, D.C., meeting with the lawmakers who would have to approve a loan guarantee package that might exceed $25 billion for Detroit. Nardelli said he was “very impressed” with the feedback he has gotten, but stressed that without that assistance, there will have to be some “very tough decisions” made about what Chrysler can afford to fund.

Chrysler actually put a fourth product on display here, too: the buggy-size “Peapod” Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) from the automaker’s GEM division. NEVs are, effectively, gussied-up electric golf carts; they have found a small but comfortable niche in places like retirement villages and college campuses. Newly renamed Green Eco-Mobility, GEM will launch the 25-mph Peapod and its 30-mile-range sometime next year, with more eco-friendly rides to come from the division—and its parent company, suddenly back in the game in a big way—in the new decade.

Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept

Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept

Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept

Chrysler’s concept for – the ecoVoyager – marries an elegant American design with fuel cell Range-extended Electric Vehicle technology.

“The Chrysler ecoVoyager concept vehicle celebrates the romance of automobile travel embodied in a four-door, four-passenger, distinctively American automobile of spirited design,” said Greg Howell, principal ecoVoyager concept exterior designer. “While the ecoVoyager’s supple, flowing one-box shape is purposely designed to achieve aerodynamic efficiencies, it also pushes the Chrysler brand language in a new direction of ‘elegant simplicity,’ by taking full advantage of the space normally occupied by a bulky conventional powertrain setup to drastically reduce the front overhang.”

Featuring crisscrossing forms defined by hard lines with fluid intersections, the style vocabulary of the ecoVoyager embodies Chrysler’s harmonisation of functional technology with beautifully-styled exteriors and interiors.

The Chrysler ecoVoyager concept was developed for customers wanting a travel experience on par with a private jet, but without a lot of fancy gadgetry. These customers seek three critical attributes: elegance, simplicity and serenity.

Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept Technology

The all-new Chrysler ecoVoyager’s wheels are driven by an electric motor, with power primarily supplied by a lithium-ion battery pack capable of satisfying a consumer’s typical daily commute of less than 40 miles.

// // The electric motor develops 200 kilowatts (268 horsepower), enabling acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in less than eight seconds. A regenerative braking system captures energy that would normally be lost and returns it to the battery, making the Chrysler ecoVoyager concept a very efficient and spacious vehicle.

The ecoVoyager takes advantage of a range extender – in this case, a small, advanced hydrogen fuel cell — to extend the vehicle range for occasional long trips. With this advanced technology, the Chrysler ecoVoyager’s total range is greater than 300 miles, while no emissions – besides water vapour — come from the tailpipe along the way.

With the entire propulsion system located below the ecoVoyager’s floor, space is maximized for utility of passenger and cargo.

Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept Exterior

Expressive details of the Chrysler ecoVoyager concept include panoramic roof glass bisected by a centre spine, tight body overhangs and a dramatic boat-tail back end. The sinuous shapes of the window graphics, headlamps, tail lamps and grille openings are inspired by Chrysler’s storied winged badge.

The curving trapezoidal shape of the ecoVoyager’s grille is echoed by the clear lens-covered shadow box that houses the rear license plate. The sloping backlight features a similar shape, emphasizing the repeating harmony of the ecoVoyager’s design elements.

Other exterior touches on the Chrysler ecoVoyager concept include the elongated, flaring “light catchers” on the lower doors and the front and rear fascias, enhanced by the Polar Ice exterior colour.

Finally, side doors open a wide 90 degrees. Since the rear doors are hinged at the rear and there is no centre B-pillar, entrance into the ecoVoyager is virtually unimpeded.

Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept Interior

By placing the front wheels of the Chrysler ecoVoyager concept farther forward than usual, designers were able to create greater interior roominess and increased legroom, especially in the rear seats.

In the ecoVoyager’s spacious interior, the size, design and location of all controls have been rethought to provide its four pampered passengers the luxury of having every feature within effortless reach.

“In some ways, true luxury is in not having to reach or search around for controls,” said Ty Stump, principal interior designer of the Chrysler ecoVoyager concept. “With the new ecoVoyager concept, we carefully placed the gauges and controls in order to reduce head and eye movement. We also achieved simplicity in the interior forms, both for visual elegance and to avoid distracting surfaces.”

The ecoVoyager’s windshield defroster and cabin air-conditioning outlets in the instrument panels and doors, for example, are invisible beneath a recessed perforated mesh. This avoids visually-disruptive array sliding vanes and protruding knobs. Even the colour of the interior — soft Dove Gray with warm cherry wood accents — is designed to promote a relaxed ambiance.

The Chrysler ecoVoyager’s unconventional instrument panel features a broad, leather-covered angled surface, slightly V-shaped in plan view and fronted by a full-width display screen set just below the windshield. The left and right outer ends of this non-glare screen contain the side-view mirror image, while a third camera image in front of the driver serves as the rear-view mirror.

Unlike most instrument clusters, only currently-needed information is displayed, designed to be viewed above the steering wheel rim rather than through it (and requiring less up-down eye movement and refocusing). The front-seat passenger can view a movie without its moving images disturbing the driver. A slick, slide-out/retractable centre console – fitted with hot-key buttons and a mouse pad – replaces the functions contained in a conventional vertical centre stack.

The ecoVoyager’s four individual chairs are contoured for personalised comfort. The seat framing is exposed, with under-seat storage drawers. Front seats have individual cantilevered, adjustable armrests containing the window controls and heat/massage switches, while individual rear-seat armrests fold into the cabin back panel. With the ability to store six 20-ounce bottles, the floor console dividing the rear seats accommodates hot or cold beverages.

A recessed area in the headliner between the two longitudinal skylights contains the “Direct Sound” function. With this feature, the musical entertainment choice of each individual occupant can be directed to him or her without the use of headphones, and without disturbing others in the car.

Sleek, refined, efficient and superbly comfortable, the Chrysler ecoVoyager concept vehicle offers a new experience in stress-free travel.

Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept Specifications

Vehicle Type: Range-extended Electric Vehicle (40-mile all-electric range with hydrogen fuel cell range extender), Two-row seating, four-passenger

Weight and Dimensions

  • Weight/GVWR: 2750 lbs./3500 lbs.
  • Length: 191.2 inches/4856mm
  • Width at H-point: 75.4 inches/1915mm
  • Height: 63.0 inches/1600mm
  • Wheelbase: 116.0 inches/2946mm
  • Couple 1-2: 45.4 inches/1154mm
  • Front overhang: 34.0 inches/864mm
  • Rear overhang: 41.2 inhces/1046mm
  • Track front/rear: 65.6 inches/1666mm
  • Approach angle: 15.0 degrees
  • Departure angle: 20.9 degrees
  • Turn circle: 40 feet/12.2m
  • Maximum width: 75.4 inches/1915mm

Powertrain and Suspension

  • Layout : Front wheel drive
  • Motor: Single electric
  • Power: 200 kW (268 hp)
  • Regenerative braking
  • Battery: 16 kWh Li-ion battery pack
  • Range extender: Hydrogen fuel cell, PEM 45kW, 700bar (10,000psi) high pressure tanks
  • Suspension
    • Front – MacPherson Strut
    • Rear – MacPherson Strut

Wheels and Tyres

  • Tyre size front/rear: P235/45R22x8 30.3 inches/770mm
  • Tyre manufacturer: Goodyear

Colour Scheme

  • Exterior: Polar Ice Blue
  • Interior: Dove Gray

Key Performance Attributes

  • 0-60 mph: 8.8 seconds
  • Standing ¼ mile: 12.9 seconds
  • Top speed: 115 mph
  • All-electric range: 40 miles
  • Total range: 300 miles

Chrysler GEM Peapod

chrysler-gem-peapod-electric-car

chrysler-gem-peapod-electric-car

Clean and green transportation gets a new look and feel as GEM, a Chrysler LLC company, introduces the next generation of clean, gas-free and emission-free, battery electric vehicles.

The vehicle’s innovative, groundbreaking design, with its striking pod-like shape and sleek lines, reflects the environmentally friendly nature that has been the hallmark of GEM since its founding 10 years ago.

The user-friendly mood of the vehicle, named the GEM Peapod, is enhanced with the newly designed center console that will offer iPod integration, as well as hands-free operation of the customer’s iPhone. Other innovations include ergonomic, supportive, mesh seating, which enables air circulation for comfort and uses eco-friendly recycled and recyclable materials.

“We have evolved the GEM design language to better reflect its eco-friendly performance and its upbeat, positive image,” said Peter Arnell, Chrysler LLC’s Chief Innovation Officer who led the design process. “These vehicles use no gasoline and emit no pollutants. So whether it’s a trip around the neighborhood or the drive to school or work, the GEM Peapod is the ideal way to contribute to a greener planet, and a healthy lifestyle.”

GEM will also get a new name – GreenEcoMobility, Arnell said, signifying the company’s goal to redefine environmentally friendly vehicles.

// // Chrysler will show the styling model for the production 2009 GEM at the company’s headquarters Sept. 23, 2008. The re-designed GEM is scheduled for production in 2009.

The Peapod represents the first in a series of product launches that will redefine the future of electric vehicles, said the company’s CEO Bruce Coventry.

“With this next generation GEM, we will broaden the market for this clean, emission-free technology,” Coventry said.

In addition to the 2009 GEM Peapod neighborhood electric vehicle, Coventry said, GEM has plans to market a new light-duty, battery electric commercial truck and a larger city electric vehicle, with more range and performance. These vehicles are scheduled for production within the next year, he said.

Today’s GEM is the nation’s No. 1 zero-emission electric vehicle, with 38,000 produced and in use. GEM vehicles are used in settings such as city centers, planned communities, military bases, college campuses, corporate and commercial centers, and city, state and national parks.

“Over the past decade, GEM has established itself as the nation’s leading battery-powered, pure electric vehicle,” said GEM President and COO Rick Kasper. “We have done that by responding to the needs of our customers for safety, utility, versatility and performance in environmentally friendly vehicles.”

GEM cars are available in six models: two-, four- and six-passenger cars and three utility vehicles. GEM neighborhood electric vehicles have a top speed of 25 miles per hour, a range of up to 30 miles per charge (battery charge is extended through use of regenerative braking) and are street legal in more than 40 states. The vehicles can be recharged anytime, anywhere with a standard 110-volt outlet. Recharge time is approximately six to eight hours.

By replacing conventional vehicles, GEM vehicles can reduce overall emissions of pollutants, particularly during short trips when conventional vehicles create the most tailpipe emissions. GEM vehicles have been driven a combined 200 million miles and averted more than 150 tons of pollutants from reaching the air, while saving 10 million gallons of gasoline.

2010 Chrysler 300C and Jeep Cherokee preview

2010_chrysler_300_images_1Chrysler’s official viability plan contains these renderings of 2010 Chrysler 300C and Jeep Grand Cherokee. According to that new redesigned models retain original characteristics of the current models and will be more fuel efficient. An all new 6-cylinder engine along with the good old V8 HEMI with Multiple Displacement System which can deactivate half of cylinders will help to get improve economy by 22 percent.

2010_jeep_grand_cherokee

Chrysler claims that these new cars will give their revenue an instant boost when they launch but guys at U.S. Treasury should know that these cars are basically the same as the current models which are not successful by any means! I’m a huge fan of 300C’s Gangsta styling but I have to say in terms of performance and handling it sucks, and you can’t turn a bad car to a good one only with a facelift.

Chrysler claims that these new cars will give their revenue an instant boost when they launch but guys at U.S. Treasury should know that these cars are basically the same as the current models which are not successful by any means! I’m a huge fan of 300C’s Gangsta styling but I have to say in terms of performance and handling it sucks, and you can’t turn a bad car to a good one only with a facelift.

Dodge Viper SRT10 production continues

dodge-viper-srt10-acr31

Not long ago Chryler LLC was desperate to find a buyer for Viper brand, they were only asking $10 million for the whole business! And they were about to cease all operations by December 2009. But now, as an outcome of deal with Fiat, Chrysler officially announced that they can keep it for themselves and that SRT10 production will continue. It’s great news of course, we love Dodge Viper and can’t wait to see new models of it, but still you can’t be sure it’s 100 percent safe! No one knows what’ll happen tomorrow…
Press Release
AUBURN HILLS, Mich- Chrysler Group LLC announced today that production will continue for the legendary Dodge Viper SRT10.
Originally slated to cease production in December 2009, the Chrysler Group Conner Avenue Assembly Plant — the exclusive home of Dodge Viper production since 1995 — will continue to build the V-10 powered sports car. Chrysler Group is no longer pursuing a sale of the Viper business assets.
“The Dodge Viper has successfully captured the hearts and imagination of performance enthusiasts around the globe,” said Mike Accavitti, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dodge Brand. “We’re extremely proud that the ultimate American-built sports car with its world-class performance will live on as the iconic image leader for the Dodge brand.”
Introduced as a concept car in 1989 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Dodge Viper was designed and engineered to test public reaction to the concept of a back-to-basics, high-performance, limited production sports car.
The reaction was so overwhelming that customer orders began to flow in even before the auto show was over. Chrysler Corporation immediately decided to determine the production feasibility on transforming the crowd-pleasing Dodge Viper show car into a limited-production sports car in no more than three years.
In May 1990, after months of intensive study and testing, Chrysler Corporation announced that the Dodge Viper, powered by an aluminum V-10 was a “go.”
Dodge Viper production began in May 1992 at the New Mack Assembly Plant and was moved to Conner Avenue in October 1995. Viper V-10 engine production transferred from Mound Road Engine to Conner Avenue Assembly in May 2001. In 2008, Dodge introduced the all-new, fourth generation Dodge Viper SRT10. With more horsepower, more torque and more than 30 exterior and interior color combinations, the latest Viper gives enthusiasts the performance they expect on the track and off, with more factory customization options than before.
For 2009, the Dodge Viper SRT10 offers outrageous power, with an 8.4-liter, 600-horsepower (450 kW) V-10 engine contributing to blistering acceleration (0-60 mph in less than four seconds, 0-100-0 mph in the low 12-second range), setting an American sports car benchmark.
To date, more than 25,000 Dodge Vipers have been built.

Not long ago Chrysler LLC was desperate to find a buyer for Viper brand, they were only asking $10 million for the whole business! And they were about to cease all operations by December 2009. But now, as an outcome of deal with Fiat, Chrysler officially announced that they can keep it for themselves and that SRT10 production will continue. It’s great news of course, we love Dodge Viper and can’t wait to see new models of it, but still you can’t be sure it’s 100 percent safe! No one knows what’ll happen tomorrow…

Press Release

AUBURN HILLS, Mich- Chrysler Group LLC announced today that production will continue for the legendary Dodge Viper SRT10.

Originally slated to cease production in December 2009, the Chrysler Group Conner Avenue Assembly Plant — the exclusive home of Dodge Viper production since 1995 — will continue to build the V-10 powered sports car. Chrysler Group is no longer pursuing a sale of the Viper business assets.

“The Dodge Viper has successfully captured the hearts and imagination of performance enthusiasts around the globe,” said Mike Accavitti, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dodge Brand. “We’re extremely proud that the ultimate American-built sports car with its world-class performance will live on as the iconic image leader for the Dodge brand.”

Introduced as a concept car in 1989 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Dodge Viper was designed and engineered to test public reaction to the concept of a back-to-basics, high-performance, limited production sports car.

The reaction was so overwhelming that customer orders began to flow in even before the auto show was over. Chrysler Corporation immediately decided to determine the production feasibility on transforming the crowd-pleasing Dodge Viper show car into a limited-production sports car in no more than three years.

In May 1990, after months of intensive study and testing, Chrysler Corporation announced that the Dodge Viper, powered by an aluminum V-10 was a “go.”

Dodge Viper production began in May 1992 at the New Mack Assembly Plant and was moved to Conner Avenue in October 1995. Viper V-10 engine production transferred from Mound Road Engine to Conner Avenue Assembly in May 2001. In 2008, Dodge introduced the all-new, fourth generation Dodge Viper SRT10. With more horsepower, more torque and more than 30 exterior and interior color combinations, the latest Viper gives enthusiasts the performance they expect on the track and off, with more factory customization options than before.

For 2009, the Dodge Viper SRT10 offers outrageous power, with an 8.4-liter, 600-horsepower (450 kW) V-10 engine contributing to blistering acceleration (0-60 mph in less than four seconds, 0-100-0 mph in the low 12-second range), setting an American sports car benchmark.

To date, more than 25,000 Dodge Vipers have been built.

2009 Chrysler Aspen HEMI(R) Hybrid

chrysler Aspen HEMI(R) Hybrid

chrysler Aspen HEMI(R) Hybrid

The 2009 Chrysler Aspen HEMI Hybrid is a new model for 2009, powered by a two-mode hybrid system that combines a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with electric motors for a total power output of 385 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. A luxury SUV, the Aspen HEMI Hybrid features chrome accents on the door handles, body-side moldings and exterior mirrors, as well as 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels.

Inside the Aspen HEMI Hybrid features premium leather-trimmed seats; wood accents on door panels and center stack; heated power front seats; second-row bench seat; and 60/40 split third-row bench seat. Standard safety features include Chrysler’s exclusive Trailer Sway Control, Electronic Stability Program, ABS, next-generation front air bags, ParkSense Rear Park Assist System, ParkView Rear Back-up Camera System, Tire Pressure Monitoring System and three-row side-curtain air bags with roll sensing.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Chrysler Aspen is available in two trim levels, Limited and Limited HEV. The Limited is available in two-wheel drive and 4WD, while the Limited HEV (hybrid) is 4X4 only. Standard equipment includes 18-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, foglamps, rear park assist, a rear parking camera, a power tailgate, a power driver seat, a tilting steering column, a 40/20/40-split reclining second row, a 60/40-split-folding three-passenger third row, rear climate control, stain-repellent cloth upholstery, wood trim and an eight-speaker stereo with touchscreen controls, 30GB of digital music storage, an auxiliary audio jack and a CD player.

The creatively named J Package adds the Hemi V8, 20-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, running boards, heated auto-dimming exterior mirrors, remote ignition, leather upholstery in the first and second rows, a power passenger seat, heated front seats, automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals, driver memory functions, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth, iPod integration, a navigation system and upgraded speakers. Several of these items are available as stand-alone options, along with second-row bucket seats, a towing package and a rear DVD entertainment system with Sirius Backseat TV. The Limited with J Package can also be equipped with a sunroof and heated second-row seats.

The Chrysler Aspen Limited HEV is 4X4 only and equipped similarly to the Limited with J Package, but adds a hybrid powertrain, 18-inch chrome-clad wheels and real-time traffic information for the navigation system.