Though the five-year product plan Chrysler released yesterday reflects their goal of increased fuel efficiency, it didn't contain a single reference t the introduction of any electric vehicles within any of their brands (Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, and Ram Truck). The most conspicuous and intrepid feature of Chrysler's planned improvement in fuel economy involves increasing their production of high-efficiency four-cylinder engines. By 2014, Chrysler projects that nearly 40% of their worldwide volume will run on four-cylinder engines, up from less than 20% in 2010. That would mean a drastic drop in their production of eight and six cylinder engines, which will make up nearly three-quarters of their volume next year, but less than half of their volume by 2014. Chrysler also wants to see a slight increase for their “clean” diesel engines, from 9% in 2010 to nearly twice that in 2014.
Chrysler's pre-bankruptcy plan had included a Dodge EV next year, followed by a Chrysler extended-range plug-in in 2011. They even had a catchy name for the set of EV and PHEV prototypes and concepts, plus the technologies that support them — ENVI (ENVIronmental). But after scouring the product plan presentation, as well as the media site, the ENVI program was absent. Industry pundits like John O'Dell, senior editor at edmunds.com, are still confident that portions of the ENVI vehicles and systems will see the light of day. Says O'Dell, "ENVI is still part of the company plan."
We certainly hope so.