DETROIT -- Chrysler LLC is considering building an electric sports car based on a lightweight chassis made by Englands Lotus Cars Ltd.
"We are seriously considering producing the car," said Frank Klegon, Chrysler executive vice president of product development.
He told Automotive News this morning that the sports car -- called the Dodge EV -- would go from 0 to 60 mph in under five seconds. The Dodge EV is based on the Lotus Europa.
Lotus has a lot of experience with lightweight vehicles and aluminum structures, Klegon said on the sidelines of a Chrysler press event. We have experience with propulsion systems.
It was not immediately clear what time frame Chrysler was pursuing for the vehicle. It could come out as early as 2010.
Lotus already plays a major role in an electric car being built by California startup company Tesla Motors Inc. The $109,000 Tesla Roadster also is based on the Lotus Elise. Tesla has taken more than 600 orders for the car. Its first dealership opened on May 1 and 27 customers have taken delivery of the vehicle.
If the Dodge EV does go into production, Chrysler would likely buy the chassis from Lotus and outfit it with its own powertrain. Klegon said the EV would cost less than $109,000, but he would not say how much less.
Chrysler co-president Tom LaSorda said Chrysler engineers evaluated several different sports cars from around the world but settled on the Lotus Europa chassis in part because of it low weight.
"They had a great platform. We went over there and said to them, 'We have a great advanced technology, you guys have a great platform.'"
The Dodge EV can be driven between 150 and 200 miles on a single charge.