2009 Chrysler Town & CountryEnlarge Photo
You might think Chrysler would be doubled over in pain these days, given all the tsoris of bankruptcy court. But in fact, the company is holding its head high and has developed big plans for tomorrow--at least on paper.
Yesterday, those plans made their way to the U.S. Department of Energy, when Chrysler handed over a $448-million proposal to develop a slate of green vehicles lickety-split. Most of the vehicles included in the plan would be electric and plug-in hybrid versions of the Chrysler Town & Country and the Dodge Ram, based on their broad demographic appeal.
Of course, Chrysler didn't compile this proposal for product development purposes alone. It's doing it for the moolah, too--specifically, cash from two new programs funded by the DOE: the Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative and the Transportation Electrification Initiative. If the DOE likes what it sees in Chrysler's plan, it'll pony up $224 million (i.e. half the project cost) to see it through.
That should be enough to cover phase one of the project, which involves building a research and manufacturing facility in Michigan and cranking out a test fleet. If all goes according to Chrysler's ambitious plans, vehicles could start rolling off the assembly line by the end of 2010. Whether or not the public buys them is another story--but at least the project is giving Chrysler something to think about besides financial ruin.