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Special Chrysler Division Developing Hybrids for 2013
Posted: Jul. 15, 2008 10:07 a.m.

Chrysler, facing the lowest sales of any major automaker, may be preparing to build a hybrid electric car. The Detroit Free Press reports that Chrysler "launched a special division within the company last fall called ENVI -- pronounced like 'envy' -- to bring electric-drive vehicles and related advanced-propulsion technologies to market." The ENVI team "is currently developing electric vehicles for the three Chrysler brands and is planning on product within three to five years," according to Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa. Cappa also said "the new technology ENVI is developing" could "turn everything into a range-extended vehicle," helping Chrysler to meet strict federal fuel efficiency mandates set to take effect in 2020.

Autoblog comments, "For Chrysler's oversized dealer body, a 2013 time frame might as well be the date of the unveiling of the Chrysler Starship Enterprise. They're looking for something to sell now, and [Chrysler] has given them very few commitments." While every automaker except MINI has suffered an overall sales drop in 2008, no company has been hurt by $4 gas as badly as Chrysler. Chrysler has no compact car in its lineup, and no current hybrid car. In recent years, the automaker spent more development money on the Dodge Challenger than any other project, and the public's appetite for V8-powered muscle cars is limited by high gas prices.

The Free Press notes "Chrysler, beyond announcing plans to have a Dodge Ram hybrid in its 2010 model year, remains mum on hybrid plans, other than to hint that more is to come."

With a 40 mpg Ford Fiesta, a 40 mpg Chevy Cruze, and the heavily-hyped Chevy Volt hybrid on the way for 2010, frustrated Chrysler dealers hope there is something to back up those hints.

Research the most advanced green car technology with U.S. News' car rankings and reviews.

Buzz up!

LINK: Special Chrysler Division Developing Hybrids for 2013 - U.S. News Rankings and Reviews
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