Chrysler sets sights on electric vehicles

October 7, 2013 0 By Stephen Vagus

Chrysler may revive electric vehicles program

American automaker Chrysler may soon join the ranks of companies working to develop and commercialize electric vehicles. In 2009, Italian automaker Fiat formed a strategic partnership with Chrysler in order to save the company from bankruptcy. Fiat quickly put Chrysler’s electric vehicle ambitious to rest, suggesting that the economics surrounding such vehicles were unfeasible. Fiat claimed that Chrysler would lose more than $10,000 for every electric vehicle sold. Now that the American automaker has found stable financial footing and its partnership with Fiat has become more turbulent, Chrysler may be looking to focus on electric vehicles once more.

Automaker looking for new engineers

Chrysler is currently looking to recruit new engineers to work on the development of battery management systems. These systems are used in electric vehicles to oversee the performance and manage the capabilities of lithium-ion batteries. The recruiting endeavor is part of Chrysler’s overarching electric vehicle program. In the past, the automaker had claimed that this program would produce a wide range of clean vehicles that would fall under many of its popular brands. The program was expected to produce all-electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrids.

electric vehiclesElectric vehicles program to focus on batteries over fuel cells

Currently, Chrysler’s history and its efforts to acquire new engineers suggests that it will focus on battery electric vehicles rather than those powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Fuel cells have become quite popular in the auto industry but have not yet been embraced by all automakers. Many companies have expressed concerns regarding the high cost of these vehicles as well as their efficiency and safety. For these automakers, lithium-ion batteries remain the key to success in the field of clean transportation.

Automaker may find stiff competition in clean transportation

Chrysler has yet to reveal any specific details about its future with electric vehicles. The automaker has noted that it has been a strong supporter of clean transportation for several years, but it has yet to take a significant step toward commercializing battery-powered vehicles over the past five years. Other automakers, such as General Motors, Ford, and Nissan have established a strong lead in this sector in that time.