Published on October 1st, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan7
Chrysler To Go Electric? (For Real, This Time?)
Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield of Plugin Cars recently had a very interesting article on a car company we almost never discuss here on CleanTechnica — Chrysler. Chrysler doesn’t really sell any electric cars. Technically, the Fiat 500e is available somewhere, but it’s just in a very limited number of places and only a few hundred are being produce (it’s a compliance car). That’s basically the closest thing we have to an electric Chrysler. Ironically, if Nikki is correct, Fiat is actually the reason we don’t have an electric Chrysler.
When Italian automaker Fiat stepped in with a strategic alliance designed to save Chrysler from bankruptcy in 2009, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne wasted no time pulling the plug on Chrysler’s plug-in car program.
Prior to Fiat’s involvement in Chrysler, the automaker had trumpeted plans to electrify an entire swath of its models—ranging from an all-electric two-seat Dodge Circuit EV to a range-extended Jeep Patriot, a plug-in minivan and even a concept city car.
These plug-in cars—mostly considered showy concept vehicles without much development to support them—were aborted by Fiat long well before reaching the showroom.
Mr. Marchionne has been very open about his disdain for electric vehicles, backing up this story.
But it seems that Chrysler may be making another pivot, and it seems this pivot will take the company back towards a plugin car future. “Now, with Chrysler’s fortunes turned around, its Italian partnership in jeopardy, and a possible IPO in the pipeline, Chrysler’s EV program is back. At least, that’s what we can infer from Chrysler’s corporate recruitment site, which is currently looking for engineers in the fields of electrified power development and battery management systems at its headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich.”
Interesting. Good sleuthing by Nikki.
Still, it looks like a plugin car from Chrysler is still a long ways off. And, at that point, the question is whether or not it will be too late for the company. BMW is looking to electrify all of its models. Nissan, GM, Ford, Honda, and Toyota all have multiple plugin cars in their lineups already, and they’re developing more. And then there’s Tesla, which is seeing surging sales and continues to see a surging stock price, as if investors expect the company to someday replace Chrysler in the US automotive Big 3.
Will Chrysler ever be able to catch up?