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Archive for September, 2008

Chrysler announces plug-in hybrid minivan

Posted by bitguru on September 24, 2008

Chrysler EV hybrid minivan

A surprise press release came out of Chrysler yesterday, announcing plug-in hybrid vehicles “targeted to be produced in 2010 for consumers in North American markets.”

Hybrid minivans from Chrysler is a possibility I had mentioned before, but I didn’t expect to hear of a production target so soon.

“With the Chrysler EV, we are able to blend seven-passenger capability and the luxury of the Chrysler Town & Country minivan with electric-drive technology, demonstrating family practicality with zero compromise,” said Rhodes. “ENVI’s electric-drive development vehicles showcase our accelerated application of electric-drive systems into a wide range of vehicles in Chrysler’s future product portfolio.”

The Chrysler EV combines the electric-drive components of an Electric Vehicle with an integrated small-displacement engine and generator to produce additional electricity to power the electric-drive system when needed. This provides all of the positive attributes of an Electric Vehicle and extends the driving range to be equivalent to today’s gasoline-powered vehicles – without compromises.

The Chrysler EV uses a 190 kW (255 horsepower) motor, producing 350 N·m (258 lb.-ft.) of torque, providing 0 to 60 mph acceleration in approximately nine seconds. The Chrysler EV Range-extended Electric Vehicle can drive 40 miles on all-electric power, and boasts a range of 400 miles on approximately eight gallons of gasoline. This makes the Chrysler EV the perfect fuel-efficient family vehicle.

Even without the plug-in aspect, 360 miles on 8 gallons would be 45 mpg. That’s darn good for a seven-passenger vehicle, if they can pull it off.

In addition to the minivan there are also a plug-in sports car (Dodge) and a plug-in hybrid Jeep. Confusingly, they seem to have given all three the “EV” model name. Check out the ENVI team web pages for (scant) details.

[update: These should qualify for the maximum $7500 tax credit. Some sources say that Chrysler intends to bring only one of the three models to production by 2010, the other two within a decade.]


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Big Gridiron Game Saturday Evening

Posted by bitguru on September 11, 2008

The L.A. Times has a cute article about the big game this weekend:

It’s all you could ask of a Saturday night in September in California — two ranked teams playing in front of a packed house, on national television, with huge bowl implications and possibly a national title at stake.

No. 5 Ohio State at No. 1 USC won’t be bad either.

The author is excited about No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 21 Fresno State, which is the game I’m looking forward to watching this weekend.

That’s presuming I’ll be able to stay awake for it. Kickoff is at 10:30pm EDT on ESPN2.

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Honda Insight reborn for 2010

Posted by bitguru on September 4, 2008

2010 Honda Insight ConceptThe original two-seater Insight was the first gas-electric hybrid vehicle sold in North America. (The Prius hit the market earlier, but only in Japan.) It had some inovative features, such as aluminum bodywork, but sold poorly and was discontinued after the 2006 model year.

Now Honda has revealed the new Insight, still a hybrid but this time with a back seat. The concept vehicle looks similar to the second-generation Prius, with which it was designed to compete. It may prevail, as it will be priced several thousand dollars below the Prius. I’m guessing they dropped the expensive aluminum bodywork.

It should be available in spring 2009. Honda plans to sell 200,000 of them yearly, half in North America.

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