Reviewers have praised the 2011 concept Dodge Circuit EV. Many have driven the prototype model and Chrysler previously announced that the vehicle would be produced, then speculation came suggesting the program was canceled especially in light of the economic issues. However, there is now new evidence indicating the program may still be underway.
Chrysler is currently testing prototypes of the Circuit EV in Michigan, Arizona, and the UK. Chrysler has proving ground in both of the U.S. states, but why would prototypes be in testing around the world if the program is cancelled and there is no hope for production.
Chrysler recently announced their commitment to electric vehicles. They will introduce their first EV next year, but will the Circuit make the list down the line? According to Lou Rhodes, the president of Chrysler's ENVI division which focuses solely on electric vehicles, the Circuit may still be a possibility.
In an interview with Car and Driver, Rhodes spoke in some detail about the Circuit's future. He may have let a few words slip out to intrigue listeners or they may have been words planned to unofficially state that the program is still underway. Either way, here are the details. According to Rhodes, the Circuit would be produced at the Lotus factory and then shipped to a U.S factory for electric component install. The prototype vehicles are undergoing constant modifications one of which will cut the 0-60 mph time by a half second.
Rhodes says that Chrysler intends to sell 100,000 EVs which will reduce costs due to the scale of the effort. The Circuit EV could undercut the price of the Tesla Roadster by "tens of thousands" according to Rhodes.
Much of this information is probably still speculation, but drawing from the clues hinted at by Rhodes, its believable that the Circuit EV may still see production someday. With constant focus and effort put into the program, it's unlikely that its merely for eye appeal.
Developing prototypes and testing prototypes costs money and takes up precious time. Why invest both time and money into a product that isn't intended for production? To date, Chrysler has spent an estimated 3 years perfecting this vehicle, hopefully it only takes a few more until the production version become a reality.
Source: Car and Driver August 2009