Nobody saw this coming.
By this point, most automakers have already shared with the press what they plan to display at the North American International Auto Show. But Chrysler pulled out a surprise - the 200C EV concept, an electric-drive vehicle that can run up to 40 miles on battery power, with zero fuel consumption and zero tailpipe emissions. For longer trips, a small gasoline engine gives it a range of up to 400 miles.
With its electric-drive technology and sculptured exterior, the Chrysler 200C EV shows that an electric-drive sports sedan can be both practical and sexy. On the inside, the 200C EV is free of switches and levers. Inspired by the iPhone, all vehicle functions, settings and the uconnect features are managed via a panoramic multimedia touch screen, a passenger-dedicated "techno-leaf" and a stowable tablet PC. The touch screen instrument panel can be personalized for each driver.
The 200C EV was one of five ENVI-powered electric vehicles that Chrysler unveiled at the Detroit show on Sunday. The four others were updated versions of the three Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge advanced electric-vehicle prototypes that were shown last fall, and the new Jeep Patroit EV. Like the 200C EV, the Patriot EV uses an integrated small-displacement engine and electric generator to produce additional electricity to power the electric-drive system when needed.
We'll have more about the 200C EV, and other Chrysler vehicles shown at the Detroit show, later Sunday and in the days ahead.