Contributing Monkie G Monkie
Published on January 25, 2009
So I wake up today to yet another American auto giant saying they will lead the “charge” to an electric vehicle future. This time it was the almost forgotten Chrysler company. The company which has brought us the American classics, such as the Jeep, the Dodge Viper and even the dull but popular PT Cruiser.
I personally would have never guessed Chrysler could wake up quick enough to jump over the new green startups such as Tesla and Aptera. Or catch up to the other majors such as GM their new Volt ev vehicle and or the market leader, Toyota with their hybrid lines. They seem to not only have been able to catch up but in many ways are in the process of passing all of these companies, by transforming their existing platforms into all electric or gas assist electric vehicles.
To prove this, Chrysler today rolled out their classic Jeep and Minivan Voyager in gas assist versions. They went with electric motors in the wheel hubs, giving the vehicles 40 mile range in pure electric mode and 400 miles with gas assist.
But they didn’t stop there, they also decided to go after Tesla directly by partnering up with Lotus to transform the Lotus Europa S into a full electric sports car with a whopping 480 pound-feet of torque, more than double the torque of the Tesla.
What they seem to skipped was the re-designing of the vehicles themselves. Chrysler and Tesla share the Lotus frame and body styling but that is about all they share. Tesla completely redesigned the Lotus from the ground up to work better with the electric motor by decreasing the weight of the car and upgrading the finishing materials. Also GM created a brand new vehicle called the Volt, to enable them to refine what an electric car should be.
They told msnbc the first vehicles will hit the road in 2009, but didn’t give out any pricing details. The full MSNBC video is below.
Video via MSNBC