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Chrysler going from guzzlers to green

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Chrysler was recently highly criticized for its $3/gallon gas for 3 years gimmick.  Rather than make their cars more efficient and environmentally friendly, it seemed like they were just encouraging people to continue wasting money on gas guzzlers.

 

But now the company seems to have made a rather dramatic change.  Chrysler announced that they're working on 3 electric vehicles.

 

One of them is to be very similar to the Tesla Roadster - a sporty, fully electric car, based on a Lotus design.  It will go 0-60 mph in under 5 seconds, top speed of 120+ mph, and range of 150-200 miles per charge.  They've said it will cost less than the Roadster, but not how much less, which suggests it will be quite pricey.

 

The other 2 models are quite intriguing.  Both are range-extended electric vehicles (like the Chevy Volt).  One is based on the Jeep Wrangler, and will have an all-electric range of 40 miles per charge, with a range extension of 400 miles in hybrid mode on 8 gallons of gas.  The other is a minivan with the same spects as the Wrangler.  Both vehicles would meet the needs of a large segment of the population with few green car options, which is very cool.

 

Further, Chrysler is planning on producing one of the three vehicles in late 2010, although they haven't revealed which one.

 

What puzzles me is how Chrysler is planning on getting that kind of performance out of the Jeep and minivan.  They're quoting the same performance as the Volt - 40 miles per charge and then 50 mpg in hybrid mode.  But the Volt just had to change its body design to become more aerodynamic in order to meet the 40 miles per charge.  Perhaps Chrysler is using more batteries, but I don't see how they can get the 50 mpg in hybrid mode that more aerodynamic cars like the Prius and Volt can barely achieve.  I suspect once the cars approach production, the extended range specs will come down, because minivans and Jeeps are not exactly aerodynamic bodies.

 

Nevertheless, it's great to see Chrysler moving in this direction.

post #2 of 13

 yea, this is awesome!!  i agree with you about skepticism on the claims about mileage matching the Volt, but regardless it's a great step.  

 

i'm so pumped for there to be increasing green options across manufacturers.  what does this mean for toyota (with the prius)?  any word on the street about their next few years?

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Toyota's actually falling behind, because the Prius will be a parallel hybrid rather than a series (range extended EV).  So you've got the Volt that can go 40 miles on purely electric, and probably one of these Chryslers too (I would guess they'll release one of the plug-ins first in 2010 rather than the pricey EV), and Mitsubishi with the i-MiEV and Nissan working on EVs.  Then you've got Toyota which only seems to be working on the parallel hybrid Prius, which will get around 12 miles on pure electric as long as you keep it below 60 mph.  It will get really good mileage, but compared to all these other cars, it's kind of unimpressive.

 

The only thing Toyota's got is that the Prius is already well established, and in theory they could get a plug-in Prius out pretty quickly because it's not as much of a technological advancement, pretty much just adding more and better batteries to the existing Prius.

 

Even worse is Honda, which has said they won't even try and develop a plug-in hybrid and seems to be focusing on their hydrogen fuel cell car.  I haven't heard if they're developing a pure EV, but if they're not, Honda is going to fall way behind.


Edited by dana1981 - Thu, 25 Sep 2008 23:12:11 UTC
post #4 of 13

I thought it was great news from Chrysler as our "Big 3" need to start moving forward or they are literally endangering their company's futures - which also hurts our economy further.  My personal theory on which of the 3 vehicles will be released in 2010 is the mini-van as it has the broadest appeal, more profit potential, and better PR.  The EV sportscar is meant to be s*xy so will probably be next... with the Jeep last as it being more technically complex being it is using wheel-motors. 

 

We have a '99 Dodge mini-van that is actually doing quite well holding up and all - but we obviously want to replace it in the next couple years (10-12 years for a car is not too shabby!).  The mini-van option that may be available from the Chrysler line changes everything - it would probably be #1 on our list if it is what they say it is...  Even if it is a tad pricey: very little gas (with my wife's job very close, as are kids activities), typical things like oil/filter changes and transmission maintenance are on a much lower frequency level - if at all... Total cost of ownership 'should' be much less.  Woot!

(why am i saying "woot!" over a mini-van... oh boy)

 

My understanding was that the Prius was going to a PHEV in 2010 or 2011... but I may be wrong about that.  ...and 12 miles on EV only is not that impressive.   Have not heard much from Toyota other than Prius plans - Highlander and Camry can't be their whole poker hand...

Honda is curious to me.  I have the same info that Dana1981 noted... not sure what their plan is, but with the head start they had - they could lose it completely at the rate they are going...

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalSolar:

 

My understanding was that the Prius was going to a PHEV in 2010 or 2011... but I may be wrong about that.  ...and 12 miles on EV only is not that impressive.   Have not heard much from Toyota other than Prius plans - Highlander and Camry can't be their whole poker hand...

Honda is curious to me.  I have the same info that Dana1981 noted... not sure what their plan is, but with the head start they had - they could lose it completely at the rate they are going...


 

Yeah the plug-in Prius is initially supposed to go strictly to fleets next year I believe, and then the rest of us will start seeing them probably in 2010.  That's the last I heard anyway - their scheduling plans keep changing as Toyota tries to feel out the market.  Even though they were the leaders in hybrids, they don't seem to want to take that position on plug-in hybrids for some reason.  Maybe they're getting too comfortable at the top and unwilling to take risks.

 

As for Honda, it's looking to me like not only are they going to lose their advantage, but they'll probably even fall behind the US automakers.  I really don't know what they're thinking - hydrogen is a loser technology.  Everyone seems to realize it except Honda, and BMW to a lesser extent.

post #6 of 13

Actually GM has the Chevy Equinox fuel cell vehicles testing right now - about 100 of them.  GM talks about deals with the powers-that-be regarding fueling stations and such, but I just don't see the US building an entire new infrastructure for Hydrogen right now when a PHEV just plugs into nearly any wall outlet... I have high hopes that battery technology will advance over the next 10 years to the point that cars will really be BEV types without extender engines at all... Being that hope is not only possible, but likely, how does a huge hydrogen infrastructure fit in? 

 

Again - this is good news from Chrysler, and I hope the van is the first to market - as I really believe it has the most marketing exposure and sales potential to keep that company on it's feet... especially since this economic picture that is developing needs companies like the Big 3 to stay afloat.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Yeah that's true, GM hasn't given up on hydrogen, but they have said they're going to focus on electric vehicle technology and basically put fuel cells on the back burner.

 

As for Chrysler, I wonder how much these vehicles will cost.  After all, the Volt is looking at close to $40k, and the larger vehicles proposed by Chrysler will need even more batteries.  I hope they're able to keep the price at a reasonable level.

post #8 of 13

If they come out with a $65k mini-van, I will be disappointed for sure - the prices need to be reasonable.  I fear the "but you'll save so much on gas" sales line is getting warmed up... LOL.  I would think they would be in the mid to high-40's and the model would basically be fully loaded.  Any more and your in the Escalade price range.  ...but then again, I don't work for them sooooo - a man can dream.

post #9 of 13

Granted this is getting a little off topic, but I got the exerpt below from an article over on Treehugger.com regarding the new Insight (v2.0) from Honda...

 

"At the Paris Auto Show, Honda is showing an almost-production prototype of its new dedicated hybrid car, the 5-door hatchback Insight (V 2.0). The company is also working on a hybrid based on the CRZ and a Jazz/Fit hybrid, as well as a new version of the Civic Hybrid. "Honda is planning global sales of more than 500,000 units per year with its four hybrids [with 200,000 of those being Insights], said Takeo Fukui, president and chief executive officer of Honda."

 

They seem to have a number of their style hybrids - none are PHEV... The Insight will not be a PHEV for now, and will use NiMh instead of the newer Li-Ion batteries.  The Fit hybrid will not be available in the US this next year either. 

 

Another note is that form definately follows function... The aerodynamics of the Prius (thus it's look/exterior style) is completely vindicated as the Chevy Volt, Honda Insight, and Honda Civic all look very much like the Prius.  The Insight probably the most like it.

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalSolar:
 

They seem to have a number of their style hybrids - none are PHEV... The Insight will not be a PHEV for now, and will use NiMh instead of the newer Li-Ion batteries.  The Fit hybrid will not be available in the US this next year either. 

 

Another note is that form definately follows function... The aerodynamics of the Prius (thus it's look/exterior style) is completely vindicated as the Chevy Volt, Honda Insight, and Honda Civic all look very much like the Prius.  The Insight probably the most like it.


 

Yeah Honda has said they're not interested in developing plug-in hybrids.  The company feels that if you're going to go into plug-in technology, you might as well just go full electric.  But they haven't said if they're working on any EVs either.

 

But yeah, the Insight is a total rip-off of the Prius body.  It will cost a bit less, but won't be as efficient.  Toyota was definitely ahead of the curve with the Prius body design.

post #11 of 13

I agree with above - shocking that Toyota is appearing not to compete in the range extending hybrid tech (PHEV). I was listening to a great talk from Google CEO Eric Schmidt last night on NPR about the initiatives Google and GE are undertaking towards a "Smart Grid" as well as investment in Geothermal. It was cool that a significant part of his Smart Grid plan was massive adoption of PHEVs so that cars be able to share their stored electricity back to the grid during spikes in demand.

 

I haven't watched this entire video (it's over an hour), but I listened to a good 40 minutes of the speech. His tone is a little odd...almost matter of fact that all these changes make perfect sense and anyone who doesn't see it is ignorant. All in all though, he has a very well thought out message:

 

post #12 of 13

Forgot to mention - Honda is stating (not EPA numbers) that the average fuel economy of the Insight will be 42 mpg... hmmmm, so is the Civic.   My 2005 Prius gets around 45.  The old Insight was well over 50 mpg.

post #13 of 13

I heard that Toyota is the only motor vehicle company that made a profit last year.

The prius were in such demand they didnt make them fast enough.

I think within 2-3 years we'll see a big enhancement on alternative vehicles. Fuel cells, hydrogen, all electric etc.

 

go to www.hybridcars.com for a lot more info

 

 

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