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, 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.
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.
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 . GM may choose A123 Systems' batteries for the Volt.
On Tuesday, Chrysler released technical specifications for all of the four cars it unveiled.