Monday, February 2, 2009

Chrysler announced last Thursday plans to debut an ENVI electric car to the public by 2010. Chrysler has a couple of models in mind, including Jeep, minivan, and sports car prototypes . The cars can go 40 miles on battery alone for a 150 to 200 mile range. ENVI are charged on a standard 110-volt outlet, which are found in most homes.
The company is currently testing 100 electric vehicles and one key concern is battery life . One idea put forward was leasing the batteries to buyers, who can exchange dead batteries for recharged power sources. Also, small interior generators are in development that can produce enough electricity to keep the car running on little gasoline for 400 miles.
Another economic issue with the batteries is the infrastructure needed to support battery recharging . Creating battery stations would only be effective once economies of scale, when a large-scale company gains a cost advantage due to their size, is reached. In this example, it would not be cost effective for Chrysler to supply battery stations that require numerous batteries and workers to until they have enough ENVI vehicles out on the road.
I have a hard time believing that these vehicles will be on the road by 2010 due to the current economic climate. Chrysler was already bailed out in 1979 for 1.5 million, received billions in the last bailout, and fired 32,000 workers. Despite their efforts to go green, the cost of the ENVI cars will defer the public from buying and the cost of research and development will hinder Chrysler from keeping their 2010 promise. Overall, I think this is a step in the right direction but at the wrong time.
--Jessica Wilson

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