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Chrysler ends ENVI, redeploys engineers

by Bill Cawthon on

Chrysler has shut down its standalone ENVI electric vehicle program and its personnel have been assigned to other vehicle development programs as Chrysler and Fiat merge their hybrid and electric vehicle programs.

Lou Rhodes, who was in charge of ENVI, continues to oversee electrical vehicle development for both companies. A two-mode hybrid versions of the Ram pickup is still on tap for next year. Plug-in hybrids of the Ram and a minivan are due in 2011 as part of a 200-vehicle fleet developed with a $70-million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Chrysler will not have a hybrid passenger car like the Toyota Prius or Ford Fusion until 2015.

At the moment, it looks like the first all-electric vehicle from the Fiat-Chrysler effort will probably be a Fiat Doblo commercial van.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says Chrysler’s electric vehicle strategy is still under review but he expects electric vehicles to account for one to two percent of sales by 2014.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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