[ad#post_ad]A few weeks ago, GM-Volt.com ran a piece on the catatonic state of Chrysler's electric car or ENVI program, and pointed out that since the introduction of Fiat to Chrysler during bankruptcy last May, not a peep (or official blog entry) had been heard about the program.
At the time we speculated that the program had likely been abandoned, and a new plan (if any) would likely present itself when Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne debuted his "5-year plan" for Chrysler this past past Wednesday.
That GM-Volt article got picked up around the 'interwebs,' and was met with some healthy skepticism. Our friends over at Autoblog went as far as to call us out on it , suggesting that no news, was good news... even contacting Chrysler for confirmation of the programs non-death. It never came. Autoblog did logically offer the fact that because ENVI president Lou Rhodes had not been 'let go' and was still being paid to manage the program, that was proof enough of its continued existence.
Well...not so much it turns out.
Indeed, shortly after Chrysler showcased its version of what the future would bring (along with a new corporate logo to lead the charge), new boss Marchionne offered some very un-optimistic thoughts on the electrification of the automobile, saying "I think electric vehicles are going to struggle," and that perhaps they would only account for "1 to 2 percent" of Chrysler's business by the middle of the next decade.
Not exactly how the ENVI program was represented to the US government when Chrysler went looking for aid to avoid liquidation.
In a not unrelated matter, Chrysler is also still holding onto the theory that hybrids won't catch on either. They are the only major automaker not currently offering such technology in their vehicle lineup. Chrysler hope is that new small 4 cylinder engines brought in from Fiat will satisfy the public's demand for fuel efficiency over introducing hybrid tech.
Despite the negative outlook for EVs at the press conference, no definitive word or specifics on the ENVI program presented themselves, that is until this past Friday when Reuters announced that Chrysler had disbanded and reassigned the ENVI team.
Nick Cappa, Chrysler spokesperson, who had previously given out such chestnuts to GM-Volt.com readers as, "stay tuned...lots of activity," and to Autoblog, on their suggestion that work was progressing quietly, as "quietly is a good way to put it," now has this one-liner to offer on the current happenings, "Envi is (being) absorbed into the normal vehicle development program"
Dead is another way to put it.
The stylish and Volt-like C200 concept that Chrysler showed in early 2009 (see below), and the company's pledge to bring one of four electric cars to production in 2010 gone along with it.
One more reason to be grateful the resilient Chevy Volt has weathered GM's financial apocalypse and remains only a year away from production.
Source: [ Reuters ]