Chrysler unveiled another electric car from its ENVI program at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. Stylistically, it could be best compared to a Mercedes CLS. And really, for Chrysler, this is a great looking car. The 200c is a range extended electric vehicle, so the car will be a able to travel 40 miles with zero emissions before a 2-cylinder turbocharged (most likely) engine will kick in to recharge the batteries and extend the range to over 300 miles. Here is a video that gives you a good look at the car:
The renamed and remodeled Dodge Circuit (Dodge EV) was spotted on the test track recently. The Tesla killer was given Dodge’s signature cross grill as well as numerous other aesthetic changes. It definitely looks more like a Dodge than a Lotus now.
Check out this video, and statements in question start at 1:20:
According to Phil Lebow, auto industry journalist for CNBC, the Dodge EV is a Range Extended Electric Vehicle that gets 40 miles all electric, and then switches on a gasoline generator, just like the Chevy Volt. Wrong. The Dodge EV is a pure electric vehicle that gets 150-200 miles per charge. You think the guy would have looked under the hood to see if there was a gasoline engine generator before he went on network TV. He also claims the Tesla Roadster is “extremely limited” hinting to the range. A 220 mile range is phenomenal for a sports car of that caliber, whereas in a combustion engine supercar, you can burn through 30 gallons in 7 minutes. And honestly, who has the back to drive a supercar for over 220 miles in one sitting. C’mon you’re better than that. CNBC, if you need a guy to cover electric vehicles, call me up.
[edit: Ok maybe he was referring to the Tesla Roadster as limited in quantity. Still, unless Chrysler is secretly changing its plans, the Dodge EV will not employ a gasoline powered range extender.]
In this video from the Los Angeles Times you see the superior acceleration that comes from an electric motor. While the Challenger sports a 425 hp HEMI engine; the Dodge EV, as well as every electric car, has full torque over the entire RPM range. I always love seeing these drag races between electric drivetrain cars and internal combustion engine vehicles. While the weight of the battery back hinders EVs, you have to realize how much an electric car doesn’t need: exhaust system, intake, engine cooling system, oil, gas tank, a big heavy engine, and a complicated transmission. And an electric drivetrain uses just 12 moving parts, and efficiency at the wheels is roughly 90%. Gas engines have hundreds of moving parts that have to endure extreme heat and friction, leaving the efficiency at a measly 20%. With all the advances in electronics over the past 20 years, electric vehicles have limitless potential, while combustion vehicles have pretty much reached their peak. This drag race is a good demonstration of that fact.
The Dodge EV is part of Chrysler’s ENVI program that is currently developing three electric vehicles.
Daimler has been working on electric smart cars for a couple years now. The company has been testing an earlier version of the Smart ED in London since the end of 2007, leasing 100 vehicles to get real-world experience with electric drives. Their success has led to Daimler to expand the project into Berlin, with the help of utility giant RWE. Daimler will test 100 EDs, which run on lithium-ion batteries, while RWE will install 500 electricity charging stations through the city. Small series production of the electric two-seater will start at the end of 2009 and Smart will then deliver the first vehicles to selected customers.
The Smart ED will get 70-90 miles on a charge. The Zytec electric motor is “electronically limited” at 60 mph and Smart claims the ED has a 0-30mph in an “impressive 6.5 seconds”. Either that is a typo or Diamler has an extremely lenient definition of “impressive”. I would be wary to take this car on the highway. Let’s hope they make some performance improvements before 2009.
Looks like the good ol’ boys at Chrysler have been paying attention. With rising gas prices, economic downturn, and their own disappointing sales, Chrysler had been secretly developing electric cars since 2007 in the ENVI program. Each of these 3 highway capable EV’s has its own distinct characteristics and function.
The Dodge EV is an obvious reaction to the popularity and media buzz created by the Tesla Roadster. The car features the same Lotus styling, and a 150 to 200 mile EV range while boasting a 0-60 in under 5 seconds. Look for them to undercut the Tesla Roadster’s price, as Chrysler will be able to produce cheaper than any EV startup.
The Chrysler EV is a serial plug-in hybrid in that can go 40 miles on electric power before a gasoline generator kicks in to extend the range to 400 miles. When the small gasoline motor is on, the minivan gets 50 miles per gallon. An electric minivan is really ingenious because middle class families will be able to save money driving their ev on the long trips that really are starting to cost us an arm and a leg. This way they do not need an electric car for the day-to-day driving and a gasoline car for long trips. Having two cars to save money is sort of counterproductive and why many would be wary of buying an ev.
The Jeep EV will have the same electric/gasoline combination power setup as the Chrysler EV, but the Jeep will feature four electric motors at each wheel. Which could, in theory make the Jeep EV superior to the regular Jeeps in many ways. Each wheel being independently powered could open up some interesting opportunities in maneuverability during off-roading situations. Jeep EVs will also not have regular axle setups that can hinder Jeeps off road.
Chrysler says around 100 test cars should be on the road next year. There is really no reason why these cars shouldn’t be released within the next couple years, because they are not using any new technology that has not already been demonstrated by EV startups. Regardless, anytime a big automaker like Chrysler recognizes electric car’s potential, it is good news for everyone… except the startups.