Fiat DobloEnlarge Photo
Earlier this month, we brought you a story regarding Fiat and Chrsyler and the demise of Chrysler's electric vehicle group ENVI. The two companies are still actively working on electric vehicle technology, but Chrysler's promising Dodge Circuit EV and additional electric vehicles will probably disappear forever. Not to worry, Fiat will be the savior with their projected EV which is slated to reach the market by 2011 or 2012.
What is Fiat bringing to replace the Dodge Circuit EV? None other than the Fiat Doblo Minivan platform pictured above. According to Fiat, this electric commercial vehicle is under "strongest consideration" by the company for production by 2012. For Chrysler, this means that any electric vehicles aside from the Doblo will likely come to market after 2012.
Though the electric vehicle program is still around, the same can't be said for the hydrogen fuel cell program. Chrysler has worked extensively on fuel cell research for more than a decade. The fuel cell program was around when Daimler acquired Chrylser back in 1999 and it continued to exist through the lifespan of the Daimler-Chrysler relationship. After the two companies split in 2007, the fuel cell program continued at Chrysler. Right up until 2 months ago, the program was still alive, but now it is no more.
With Chrysler developed electric vehicles taking a back seat and the fuel cell program getting the boot, what does the company have left in terms of alternative propulsion? It's believed that Dodge will still introduce its hybrid Ram next year followed by two plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2011. The PHEVs will see test fleet use only. Aside from these vehicles, no other alternative propulsion products are currently being considered in the near future.
The Fiat Chrysler relationship may be successful, but the hype surrounding many of the ENVI products will never see the light of day and that is a loss as at least one, the Dodge Circuit EV received stellar reviews from those with time behind the seat.