2011 Dodge EV Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2010
FAST FACTS
  • New electric car
  • Two-seat sports coupe
  • No gasoline engine
  • All-new platform
  • 150-200 mile range
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • 0-60 in less than 5 seconds
  • Zero tailpipe emissions
  • On sale as early as late 2010

Introduction

The race for the electric car is on. Chevrolet has made news with the , a range-extended electric car with a gasoline engine to charge the battery, but now Dodge has announced its intention to produce an all-electric car as early as late 2010. The Dodge EV will be an all-electric car with no gasoline engine. Based on a new rear-wheel-drive platform, the EV is a 2-seat sports coupe with sports car-like performance.

The Dodge EV draws a natural comparison to the Tesla roadster. Both are all-electric vehicles and both use a body/chassis design by Lotus. The Tesla is based on the Lotus Elise, and the Dodge EV concept vehicle is a rebadged Lotus Europa. While the Tesla costs almost $100,000, we expect the Dodge EV to come in far below that figure.

The Dodge EV is being developed by Chrysler LLC's in-house organization ENVI. ENVI, which takes its name from the first four letters in "environmental," has been tasked with looking at the future of the automobile without the internal combustion engine. Through ENVI, Chrysler and General Electric are working with the Department of Energy to explore advanced energy storage (battery) technologies. Advances here would make the EV's batteries smaller and less expensive.

Chrysler has also announced range-extended electric vehicles for and . Chrysler LLC says one of the three will be available by the end of 2010. We suspect that the Chrysler and Dodge vehicles will be available first, with the Dodge EV most likely coming in 2011 or even later.

Hardware

Consumers will be most interested in what lies under the Dodge EV's hood. Dodge says the EV electric-drive system will consist of three main components. Powering the car will be a 200-kW (268 hp) electric motor that generates 480 lb.-ft. of torque. An advanced 26-kWh lithium-ion battery will provide the power to the motor and an integrated power controller will manage energy flow. Dodge says the EV will be capable of a 0 to 60 mph time of less than 5 seconds, a quarter mile run of 13 seconds, and a top speed of more than 120 mph. The Dodge EV will have zero tailpipe emissions. Specifications for the Dodge EV's new rear-drive platform aren't yet available, but the EV is a small 2-seat sports car along the lines of the Pontiac Solstice. No information is yet available on wheelbase, length or width measurements, or on suspension components and geometry.

Technology

According to Dodge, the latest lithium-ion battery technology will give the EV a continuous driving range of 150 to 200 miles. Dodge says that 80 percent of Americans' commutes are less than 40 miles, so this range should be plenty even for short weekend trips. Regenerative braking will help recharge the battery while the car is underway. Owners will be able to fully recharge the battery in eight hours by plugging into a standard 110-volt power outlet or in four hours using a 220-volt household appliance power outlet. Dodge says the current average cost of electricity is the equivalent of about 75 cents per gallon.
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