Chrysler has all but dropped its plans to get 500,000 electric cars on the road by 2013 in its Five Year Plan.
Over the last year or two Chrysler has banged on about their plans to release a raft of electric cars. In fact, they even used their electric car plans as part of the pitch for bailout funds from the US Government. They said they were developing three electric cars and they would be on sale by 2010. They also pledged to have 500,000 BEV cars on the road by 2013. They even set up a special division called ‘Envi’ to develop the programme and took and extra $70 million from the US Government in September to develop a fleet of hybrid pickups.
But all the plans seem to have been scrapped. In the Chrysler Five Year Plan revealed this week there was no real mention of electric cars, and it now seems clear that all existing plans have been scrapped. The ‘Envi’ programme has been swallowed up by Fiat’s normal car development programme.
In a refreshing outburst of honesty Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne said: “Until the (battery) storage gets resolved, I think electric vehicles are going to struggle”. He went on to say that he saw electric cars as being no more than 60,000 vehicles by 2014. A long way short of the predictions and promises made to get the funding for the bailout.
Which all makes sense. As the technology stands – unless Better Place make their Battery Swap Technology viable – he’s absolutely right. There is no way a BEV can replace the internal combustion engine. It’s reckoned that to get the same range out of a BEV car as an average diesel powered car you would need a battery bank the same size as a 400 gallon diesel tank. The size of that alone makes the jump impossible at the moment, never mind the cost and weight issues.
Pragmatic and sensible moves by Marchionne and Fiat to get Chrysler back to life without investing heavily in ‘Neverland’ technology.
I wonder if the Feds will be asking for their money back?