Over the past year we have brought you countless stories regarding Chrysler's ENVI group. Several times throughout the year the group, which focuses on electric vehicles, has displayed concepts and hinted at production possibilities of various models. Numerous times we reported that the program was "dead in the water" only to later discover that Chrysler was continuing on with its ENVI group. It seemed as though Chrysler could not even decide if they wanted the ENVI division to carry on and they certainly had trouble deciding on an EV model to bring to market.
Now a new report coming from Reuters suggests that the entire program is done. The report states that Chrysler has disbanded its ENVI program and integrated the entire group back into normal product development. Even ENVI group leader Lou Rhodes has been reassigned as the group line executive in charge of EV development for both Fiat and Chrysler.
As Reuters reports, Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa said on Friday that an in-house team of electric car development engineers had been disbanded in favor of a more traditional organization. Cappa said, "Envi is absorbed into the normal vehicle development program."
The end of the ENVI program does not necessarily mean an end to any of the models that the group had been working on such as the Dodge Circuit EV which was scheduled to come to market by the end of 2010. However, the end of the group does suggest that all future EVs from the company will be jointly developed by Fiat and Chrysler.
Last week Fiat CEO Sergio Machionne discussed the new product plan for the Chrysler Fiat company. He did point out that current battery technology makes EVs a tough business proposition and announced that the company expects that less than 2% of its lineup will be electrically powered by 2014.
Ending the ENVI program may save money for the company and could have unexpected benefits. By combining EV efforts from both Fiat and Chrysler, the companies could work more efficiently producing a vehicle that could be profitable in the near future. For now, ENVI is done. The outcome of this decision remains to be seen.