It is no surprise that everyone seems to be going green these days. Yes, a lot of the hustle and bustle is due to the growing concern over our environment, but we will bet on the fact that some of it has to do with another type of greenery. We are talking cold hard cash and with the introduction of the Nissan Leaf (great green name by the way) it is no surprise to us that Chrysler is ready to join the ranks of us tree-huggers. Chrysler announced today that it will jump into the electric car market starting with an electric version of the Fiat 500 with production beginning in 2012. The Fiat 500EV will more than likely be modeled after the prototype demonstrated in January at the North American International Show in Detroit. It will be Chrysler’s first electric vehicle and will feature three main systems to power its engine; an electric powertrain module, a lithium ion battery, and a control unit to manage power flows. The demo previewed at the auto show boasted a range of over 100 miles, but Chrysler would not comment on the range of the production model.
The decision to go electric with the Fiat 500 came as a surprise to everyone with previous knowledge of Chrysler’s green tactics. Chrysler had made plans to produce a line of electric commercial vehicles as their first offering, but those plans were pushed back after an evaluation to the response these types of vehicles had.
"The Fiat 500 is a small, lightweight platform perfect for integrating electric-vehicle technology," said Scott Kunselman, senior vice president of engineering.
Chrysler has also announced they will not be offering a hybrid version of the Dodge Ram "after closely evaluating the response to hybrid pickups in the marketplace". They will, however, move forward with the 3 year demonstration project involving a test fleet of 140 Rams. This makes sense only because it seems the small car hybrid has a much larger market than the truck hybrid has at this point. We can only assume that the reason they are moving forward with this project is to be ready when the market leans itself in that direction.