Chrysler Electric Program Still In Place

Despite reports to the contrary, Chrysler says it’s still working on hybrids, plug-in hybrid electrics and battery-electric vehicles. Rumors hit the Internet yesterday that Chrysler was scrapping its electric portfolio and program and had halted plans to bring a trio of electric products to market. However, after contacting Chrysler and reviewing the company’s presentation from last week, it is clear the company is still working on hybrids, work being done as part of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. However, it doesn’t look like the three green concepts from last year’s Detroit auto show (shown below) will become a reality, which is not much of a surprise. 

According to the last week’s presentation by Paolo Ferrero, vice president of powertrains — see the chart above — the company will roll out its electric products very slowly, starting with a hybrid Ram 1500 pickup in 2010. In 2011, two pilot programs of plug-in electric vehicles — a minivan and a Ram 1500 — would hit the streets in demo fleets of 100 or so.

If we’re interpreting the chart correctly — and we’ve been told we are — the company will spend much of 2012 evaluating the commercial feasibility of future products before designing and introducing any hybrids in 2013 and 2014. It might sound like Chrysler is sitting on the sideline while Nissan, Ford and Chevy rush into the plug-in game, but at least the fragile company doesn’t stand to lose any chips by going all-in too soon.  

A battery-electric program for light commercial use will kickoff in 2012 with potential expansion in 2013 and later.

Is this less sexy electric lineup a non-story? No. But the Chrysler of last year, which debuted electric concepts that would likely never make money, and the post-bankruptcy, post-Fiat merger Chrysler of today are vastly different. 

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