Electric Vehicles
Chrysler, Ford, and Other Automakers Pursue Electric Vehicles

EERE Network News
January 14, 2009

Chrysler, Ford, and Other Automakers Pursue Electric Vehicles
GM may be receiving the lion's share of attention for its Chevy Volt, but
Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Company, and other automakers are also pushing
forward in the development of electric and plug-in hybrid electric
vehicles (also known as range-extended electric vehicles). At the North
American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chrysler has unveiled the
200C EV Concept, a sports sedan with an all-electric range of 40 miles and
an extended range of about 400 miles. It also added the Jeep Patriot EV,
another range-extended electric vehicle, to its collection of electric
vehicle concepts that was first unveiled in September 2008. That
collection includes electrified versions of the Jeep Wrangler and the
Chrysler Town & Country minivan, as well as a Dodge-branded all-electric
sports car that's based on the Lotus Europa S. Chrysler still won't say
which of the vehicles will be produced for North American markets in 2010,
but the company has updated its Dodge EV with Dodge-specific front and
rear ends and a Dodge interior, and it has renamed the vehicle as the
Dodge Circuit EV, so maybe that's a clue. See the Chrysler press releases
on its 200C EV Concept and its overall electric vehicle plans.

If Chrysler does release an all-electric sports car in 2010, it will be in
direct competition with two North American startup companies: Tesla Motors
and Fisker Automotive, Inc. Tesla produces the Roadster, an all-electric
two-seater with a body inspired by the Lotus Elise and built by Lotus
Engineering. On January 11, Tesla started taking orders for the new
Roadster Sport, an enhanced-performance version of the Roadster that will
sell for $128,500 when deliveries start in June. Tesla has so far produced
150 Roadsters, which go for $109,000, and the 1,100 people on the
company's waiting list have the option of upgrading to the Roadster Sport.
Meanwhile, Fisker Automotive unveiled the production version of its 2010
Fisker Karma, which employs Quantum Technologies' electric drive to
achieve an all-electric range of up to 50 miles. The range-extended
four-seat electric vehicle employs a lithium-ion battery pack to power two
201-horsepower electric motors and starts at $87,900. Deliveries will
start late this year. Fisker also unveiled the Karma S concept, which
features a retractable hardtop. See the Tesla Motors press release and
Roadster Sport Web page, the Fisker Web site and the press releases for
the Karma (PDF 81 KB) and Karma S (PDF 56 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

While small startups are taking the lead in electric vehicles in North
America, Ford Motor Company announced that it will introduce an
all-electric commercial van in 2010, an all-electric small car in 2011,
and a plug-in hybrid by 2012. By then, it might be competing with China's
BYD Auto, which recently began selling a range-extended electric vehicle
in China. The F3DM, a mid-size sedan, has an all-electric range of 62
miles and a top speed of 93 miles per hour. BYD Auto is exhibiting its
vehicles in Detroit for the second year in a row, and along with the F3DM,
the company is also exhibiting an all-electric crossover vehicle with a
range of 249 miles, a larger version of the F3DM, a version with a
continuously variable transmission, and a compact vehicle. With financial
backing from Warren Buffet, BYD plans to introduce its cars to Europe and
Israel in 2010 and in North America sometime later. See the Ford press
release and the BYD Web site and media kit (PDF 154 KB).

A nearer-term competitor in the North American market is Toyota, which
plans to deliver 500 Prius plug-in hybrids to global fleets later this
year, including 150 in the United States. The lithium-ion batteries for
the vehicles will be built at Panasonic EV Energy Company, Ltd., a joint
venture of Toyota and the Matsushita Group. In Detroit, Toyota is
displaying a small electric-only concept vehicle for urban commuters, the
FT-EV. Although the company plans to launch such a vehicle by 2012, its
primary emphasis is still on hybrid vehicles. Other overseas participants
in the Detroit Auto Show include Mercedes-Benz, which is exhibiting three
versions of a small concept car: an all-electric version, a range-extended
version, and a fuel cell version. Mercedes-Benz isn't announcing any
commercialization plans, but its sister company, smart, is planning to
launch an electric drive version of the smart fortwo by year's end. The
vehicle is on display in Detroit, but smart hasn't decided whether to
market the lithium-ion-powered vehicle in the United States. Even Johnson
Controls is exhibiting a plug-in hybrid concept called the re3, which
embodies the technologies that the company can offer to automakers.
Johnson Controls is producing lithium-ion hybrid vehicle batteries in
France under a joint venture with Saft. See the press releases from
Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, smart, and Johnson Controls.


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