Like a bolt out of the blue, Chrysler unveiled today three production-intent electric-drive vehicles which, with a jolt of electricity, could give consumers a gas-free commute and help the environment.

Think about that next time you’re pumping $4 per gallon gas at the filling station.

Chrysler showed the trio of electric-drive vehicles, one for each brand, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge, on CNBC, the U.S. business news channel. CNBC broadcast live from in front of Chrysler headquarters, and Chrysler Chairman and CEO Bob Nardelli appeared to talk about the three electric-drive vehicles.

“You’re looking at a full line of electric vehicles. So one has to understand that we’ve made huge commitments, both from a resource standpoint and from a financial standpoint,” Nardelli said.

Nardelli was asked, “Who is going to win the race to put electric vehicles on the road?” 

“I think who wins is the consumer,” he said. “I think who wins is the industry, and really the U.S. market in total. Gaining energy independence and environmental improvement through innovation and technology. That’s the winner.”


The prototypes – the Dodge EV, the Jeep EV and the Chrysler EV – give a glimpse of the very near future. Chrysler intends to bring advanced, electric-drive vehicles to market quickly, and in a broad range of choices for consumers – from front-wheel drive platforms, to rear-wheel drive, to body-on-frame four-wheel drive.

A fleet of more than 100 Chrysler electric vehicles will be on the road in government, business and Chrysler development fleets next year. Then, in 2010, at least one of the electric-drive vehicles will go on sale to consumers in North America, and later in Europe.


So now you’re probably wondering how these electric vehicles would work. Well, they don’t need miles-long extension cords. They use three primary components: an electric motor to drive the wheels, an advanced lithium-ion batter system to power the motor, and a controller that manages energy flow. 

So which of the three prototypes will go on sale?

Will it be the Dodge EV? The Dodge EV is a two-passenger rear-wheel drive sports car that offers high performance and zero emissions. The Dodge EV has three primary components: a 200 kW (268 horsepower) electric motor, an advanced lithium-ion battery and an integrated power controller.


The 200 kW electric-drive motor produces 480 lb.-ft. of torque, accelerating the vehicle from zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds, with a top speed of more than 120 mph. 

The Dodge EV has a range of 150 miles between recharges – more than tripe the average daily commute. To recharge the vehicle, simply plug it into a standard 110-volt household outlet. Or the recharge time can be cut in half by using a typical 220-volt household appliance power outlet.

Then there’s the Jeep EV, an off-roader that adds new meaning to the term “Tread Lightly”. The Jeep EV is a range-extended electric vehicle that couples the electric motor and the lithium-ion battery system with a small gasoline engine and an integrated electric generator to produce added energy. The Jeep EV has a range of 40 miles of zero-emissions, all-electric operation – no gas necessary. But for longer trips of up to 400 miles, the small gasoline engine produces energy to power the electric-drive system.

 

 
Since nearly 80 percent of Americans drive less than 40 miles per day, or 14,000 miles per year, the technology in the Jeep EV would allow most drivers to drive using no gasoline and emitting no tailpipe emissions. 

The 268 hp electric motor generates 296 lb.-ft. of torque in the Jeep EV. The instant high torque and the ability to control each wheel independently results in the off-road capability consumers expect from Jeep.

Finally, there’s the Chrysler EV, a fuel-efficient minivan for families on the go. The seven-passenger Chrysler EV is, like the Jeep EV, a range-extended electric vehicle that puts electric-drive technology in the segment-leading Chrysler Town & Country minivan.


The Chrysler EV can drive 40 miles on all-electric power, or 400 miles with the help of an integrated small displacement engine and generator. The Chrysler EV uses a 255 horsepower motor, producing 258 lb.-ft. of torque, providing zero to 60 mph acceleration in about nine seconds.

To find out more about the trio of EV vehicles, go to http://www.ChryslerGoesElectric.com.