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LA show: Chrysler electrifies

Show and tell: Chrysler's LA show centred around three electric vehicles that it first revealed two months previously - the Lotus-based Dodge EV (front), Voyager-based Chrysler EV (left rear) and Wrangler-based Jeep EV.

Electric vehicles from Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge lead the US maker’s LA stand

21 Nov 2008

BELEAGUERED US maker Chrysler showed a trio of electric vehicles at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week that it had previously released details of in September.

The three are for each of the corporation’s brands (Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep), and are based on existing production models.

However, the sportiest, Dodge’s EV, is in fact an electrified version of the two-seater, mid-engined, rear-wheel drive Lotus Europa.

Built in England, it has been devised to marry “fun to drive” sports car performance with an environmentally responsible vehicle that emits zero exhaust emissions.

Its electric-drive system consists of three primary components: a 200kW electric motor, an advanced lithium-ion battery and an integrated power controller.

With 200kW of electric-drive and 650Nm of torque on tap, the Dodge’s 0-100km/h sprint-time takes less than five seconds, shoots past the 400-metre mark in 13 seconds, and tops 200km/h.

The range is between 240 and 320km, and recharging is possible via a standard 110-volt household outlet over eight hours, or four if a 220-volt charger is utilised.

Jeep’s Wrangler-based EV and the Chrysler Voyager-based people mover EV both use range-extender technology – in other words, as well as having electric motors, they have a small petrol engine and integrated electric generator to produce additional energy to power the electric-drive system when needed.

Its aim is to combine the advantages of an EV with the range equivalent to today’s petrol-powered vehicles – with no compromises in performance.

In this application, the 200kW electric motor generates 400Nm of torque, and has a range of approximately 600km, including 60km of zero fuel-consumption, zero-emissions all-electric operation.

One of these three vehicles will be selected for production from 2010, to be sold initially in North American markets, with Europe to follow soon after.

Before that, Chrysler will have around 100 electric vehicles on the road in government, business, utility and company development fleets, as part of a wider trial phase, with the view to provide electric-drive technology in all its vehicles over the next few 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,” said Bob Nardelli, Chrysler LLC chairman and CEO.

“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.”

As the Chrysler EVs illustrate, just three primary components are utilised, including 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.

Chrysler says the electric-drive system is being developed for front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive, and body-on-frame four-wheel-drive vehicle applications.

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