Chrysler to introduce electric cars in 2010


CHICAGO — Chrysler this week joined the ranks of automakers promising to bring electric cars to the market in 2010. The US automaker on Tuesday unveiled three plug-in prototypes: an all-electric sports car and an electric minivan and a Jeep outfitted with range-extending gasoline engines. Just one will be produced for North American drivers in 2010 and later introduced to European markets, Chrysler said.

The others could be introduced at a later date, and Chrysler expects to expand its offerings of electric vehicles in the years to come. “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,” Chrysler chairman and chief executive officer Bob Nardelli said in a statement.

“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.” The all electric sports car, dubbed the Dodge EV, would have a continuous driving range of just 150 to 200 miles (240 to 320 kilometers) but would have enough power under the hood to go from zero to 60 miles (100 kilometers) per hour in less than five seconds. It could be recharged by plugging it into a standard household outlet for four to eight hours. The Jeep and minivan would have a range-extended electric engine that promises zero tail pipe emissions and a range of up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) on electric power and up to 400 miles (640 kilometers) with the addition of about eight gallons (30 liters) of fuel. They can also be recharged at home in four to eight hours. General Motors and Toyota have also promised to bring plug-in electric cars to market in 2010.