Chrysler gets into electric car race

Watch out Chevy Volt: Chrysler plans two extended-range electric vehicles for release in late 2010, along with an all-electric Dodge EV sports car and electric city car.

The extended-range electric Chrysler mini van.
The extended-range electric Chrysler mini van. Chrysler

Updated 10:30 a.m. PDT: Added photos and a link to Chrysler's electric car site.

Struggling automaker Chrysler on Tuesday unveiled a line of electric cars scheduled to start shipping at the end of 2010.

The surprise announcement brings Chrysler in direct competition with General Motors, which last week showed off the Chevy Volt , an extended-range electric car also due in late 2010.

Chrysler's plans call for two electric cars, using the same concept as the Volt and two other all-electric cars.

The extended-range electric Jeep Wrangler.
The extended-range electric Jeep Wrangler. Chrysler

Chrysler's top executives showed off an extended-range electric Jeep Wrangler and a mini-van to CNBC on Tuesday.

As with the Volt, lithium-ion batteries will power the car for the first 40 miles and a small, one-liter, internal combustion engine will charge the battery for longer rides. A consumer will be able to charge the batteries in eight hours from a U.S. 110-volt outlet or four hours from a 220-volt outlet.

"The range is about 400 miles on eight or nine gallons of gas," Chrysler Vice Chairman Tom LaSorda told CNBC. Chrysler also unveiled a prototype of an all-electric sports car, called the Dodge EV, which can go 150 or 200 miles on a charge and accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under five seconds.

A prototype of the Dodge EV, an all-electric sports car.
A prototype of the Dodge EV, an all-electric sports car. Chrysler

Finally, CEO Bob Nardelli said that Chrysler intends to make an all-electric city car based on its Peapod, a small electric car that runs on batteries only.

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported that Chrysler will partner with battery maker A123 Systems . GM may choose A123 Systems' batteries for the Volt.

On Tuesday, Chrysler released technical specifications for all of the four cars it unveiled.

The Peapod, the basis for a planned all-electric city car. Chrysler

 

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