Just prior to Chrysler’s very-public meltdown and bankruptcy, the passed-around automaker launched a short-lived electric vehicle program called ENVI. When Fiat took over Chrysler in 2009, the electric vehicle plans were scratched, though new job openings on Chrysler’s corporate website could indicate that the American-Italian automaker is ready to try again.
Not that the automaker has been idle. The Fiat 500E, with its 82 miles of driving range and access to a rental car for longer journeys, has been sold out, despite some serious price gouging and sketchy behavior by dealers. However, Chrysler still lacks a hybrid or plug-in hybrid model, preferring instead to go down the path of fuel-efficient turbodiesels, and that will only get the automaker so far when it comes to meeting future fuel economy mandates.
The job openings are for engineers in electrified vehicle development and battery management fields, hinting strongly that the Fiat 500E is only the first electric vehicle to come out of the Auburn Hills automaker. Initial plans called for an electric roadster, minivan, and Jeep product line, and all were “production intent”, but none ever made it to showrooms. After Fiat cancelled not just the ENVI program, but also hydraulic-hybrid minivan and plug-in hybrid pickup concepts, it seemed as though Chrysler was completely divesting itself from electrified vehicles.
Perhaps the automaker has had a change of heart after seeing the success of Tesla Motors, or maybe it is just easier to meet the fuel economy mandates with hybrids than it is with diesels. Regardless, it seems like more Chrysler EVs and hybrids are in the pipeline. Does that mean we might see the return of the Tesla Roadster-like Dodge Circuit? This writer hopes so.
Source: Plug-in Cars