DETROIT -- Chrysler LLC jolted automotive journalists ready to see the world premiere of four production-vehicle-based electric cars and trucks at the Detroit auto show, adding a surprise electric show car dubbed the 200C EV.
Chrysler co-President Jim Press said the 200C and other electric vehicles show "there's evidence here of ongoing investment in the future."
The stylish concept car features the same range-extending electric drive system deployed in several other production-intent Chrysler EVs revealed at the Detroit show, including the Town & Country EV minivan, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited EV and Jeep Patriot EV.
Chrysler also unveiled the all-electric plug-in Dodge Circuit EV, a Lotus Exige-based electric concept with an estimated range of 150-200 miles. The latest iteration now has its Dodge cross-hair grille and other Dodge styling elements fully in place. Versions of the Town & Country, Circuit and Wrangler Unlimited were shown publicly last summer, but the Patriot is an all-new entry to the portfolio of models developed by ENVI, Chrysler's environmentally friendly car engineering arm that draws its name from the first four letters of "environment."
Chrysler has said it plans to put at least one of the electric vehicles into production in 2010; the company now promises at least three more EV models will follow by 2013.
"Chrysler's broad portfolio of electric vehicle prototypes clearly demonstrates that we are well on our way to bringing electric vehicles to our consumers' garages," said Frank Klegon, Chrysler executive vice president for product development.
Between its ENVI electric-drive vehicles and GEM neighborhood electric vehicles, Chrysler wants to put 500,000 of its electric vehicles on the road by 2013.
Although the 200C EV Concept is furthest from production, the rear-drive, four-seat sedan capable of 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds flat is the most advanced expression of ENVI's efforts to date. Chrysler says the concept provides a clear view of what we'll see in a next-generation Chrysler performance sedan.
Based on a shortened version of the rear-drive Chrysler 300C full-sized sedan, the mid-sized 200C EV is a performance sedan that blends the style, performance and amenities sought by car enthusiasts and environmentally conscious consumers alike.
"The Chrysler 200C EV embodies our passion for problem solving by combining the best of engineering and automotive design," said Ralph Gilles, Chrysler vice president of design. "With the 200C EV, we were able to maximize the effectiveness of the ENVI powertrain with the stunning, wind-cheating vehicle shape, while pushing toward the future with the avant-garde interior and advanced in-vehicle connectivity."
Chrysler said the 200C EV's exterior styling focuses on efficiency while coupling Chrysler's design roots with the larger proportions of the Chrysler 300 to create a modern product.
The highly sculptured interior is free of switches and levers, with all vehicle functions and features managed via a panoramic multimedia touch screen, a passenger-dedicated portion of the screen dubbed "techno-leaf," and a stowable tablet PC.
Chrysler says that like its extended-range ENVI siblings, the 200C EV is capable of driving up to 40 miles on battery-only power, while a small gasoline engine and on-board electric generator produce electricity to extend the driving range to 400 miles.
Other ENVI vehicles revealed by Chrysler include:
Jeep Patriot EV, which combines ENVIs Range-extended Electric Vehicle drive system with a compact front-drive sport-utility vehicle.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited EV uses a range-extending electric powertrain in an off-roader. Though only a 4x2 drivetrain as shown in Detroit, a 4x4 version is in development.
Chrysler Town & Country EV, incorporating the same powertrain into its utilitarian front-drive seven-passenger minivan.
Brad Wernle contributed to this report