Chrysler’s cranks up electric car strategy Dec 15 2008

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Chrysler Electric Cars

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NEW ( — Chrysler is a huge part of its future on a to produce a full line of vehicles, at a reasonable cost to the carmaker and the consumer.

While Motors is moving ahead its Volt electric midsized Chrysler says it already has in place, not just for electric but also for minivans and even vehicles.

Chrysler’s strategy on keeping it cheap. The carmaker dispense with flashy in exchange for low cost and flexibility. And it to pile on more electric-powered quickly once the program in 2010.

We aren’t a one-electric-vehicle Lou Rhodes, Chrysler’s vice for advanced vehicle engineering, CNNMoney in an exclusive interview.

Rhodes is also president of ENVI, a separate business tasked with bringing new vehicles to market.

Instead of one, or just a few, models, Chrysler will the same models in both and electric-powered versions. This high-variety electric-vehicle strategy play a big part in any comeback Chrysler may present in hopes of government rescue funding.

strategy substantially cuts Rhodes said, and it reduces the of entering uncharted market That will translate lower costs and more for customers.

If gas prices stay Chrysler factories will more gasoline powered If gas prices rise, factories can rapidly turning out more cars since the models are the same.

Chrysler’s first electric will be based on current The carmaker hasn’t yet announced the first model will be based on prototypes Chrysler in September, it will likely be a a Jeep Wrangler 4X4 or a 2-seat car built in a Lotus body.

At some of Chrysler’s products be extended-range electric vehicles, GM (GM. Fortune 500 )’s Because the car’s body not have been designed optimal weight and aerodynamics, the vehicle will need a powerful electric drive to provide performance similar to the

For instance, Chrysler promises the 40-mile all-electric plug-in as the Volt. (After that, a gasoline engine will up to produce more electricity as the car But the heavier Jeep prototype has a (KwH) battery back to the Volt’s 16 KwH pack.

Round two

Chrysler’s second-generation vehicles, which the carmaker to start rolling out between and 2015, will be engineered the wheels up to use either gasoline or power.

No matter which the customer chooses, the vehicles not be compromised, Rhodes insists.

If you what you want to achieve up you can certainly design that in up front, he said.

Electric will not have useless tunnels running along the of the floor, he said. If a rear-wheel-drive car needs that, a different will be used when version is built.

The electric systems are also being for maximum flexibility, Rhodes Bigger, heavier vehicles more power to move, that power is from or batteries. For gasoline-powered cars, have to design larger and engines for different uses.

A small Jeep Compass, for gets a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder while a Jeep Commander SUV can equipped with a 5.7-liter V8

Chrysler Electric Cars

But what if going to a larger was as simple as just plugging in cylinders? Chrysler’s electric will work something that. To hold more power, larger vehicles simply get more battery

The cells themselves will be the same whether in large or vehicles. That’s important batteries are the biggest expense of an electric car.

The real is in the cells, said Rhodes.

the electric motor will be the It will just be up-sized for jobs.

All we change is the length of the rotor and the of windings to span between power outputs, Rhodes

Even the housing that around the motor will be regardless of the size of the motor. The housing will be so lightweight it simply won’t be worth the cost of creating smaller for the downsized motors, Rhodes

Electric cars aren’t a side-show or a public relations for Chrysler, Rhodes insists, but a strategic move. Through its GEM Electric Motorcars) subsidiary, already claims to be the largest of electric vehicles in the U.S. But are so-called Neighborhood Electric ultra-light cars with a top limited to 25 miles per hour. claims sales of 40,000 GEM over the last 10 years.

its new plan, Chrysler plans to over 500,000 electric by 2013.

This is going to be a big deal for he said.

First Published: 15, 2008: 12:35 PM ET

Chrysler Electric Cars
Chrysler Electric Cars
Chrysler Electric Cars
Chrysler Electric Cars
Chrysler Electric Cars
Chrysler Electric Cars


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