Chrysler has introduced a nearly half-billion dollar plan to develop electric and hybrid vehicles, but one part of the plan could ruffle some feathers.
Chrysler has taken the lid off a $448 million plan, submitted to the Energy department, to produce electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The plan includes $83 million for a new research and production facility in Michigan.
Chrysler, and that company's stakeholders, would pony up half of the money listed in the proposal. If approved, the U.S. Department of Energy would pay the remaining $224 million in matching funds.
The manufacturing plant is seen as a key factor in the proposal, as it could create a significant number of jobs over the next year. If constructed, the facility would be responsible for the production of 20,000 cars and trucks annually.
Chrysler product development exec Frank Klegon wrote positively of the plan, saying, "This plan will accelerate our efforts to develop and manufacture electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which will reduce the amount of time it will take to get these vehicles on the road."
However, the plan does dive into a grey area, proposing $365 million for a set of less than 400 demonstration vehicles. These vehicles, which could include plug-in hybrid and electric versions of the Chrysler Town & Country, and a Dodge Ram 1500 hybrid, would be doled out to certain high-ranking customers and stakeholders. What is unclear is the continued development of their ENVI line of all-electric concept vehicles. These included the all-electric T&C, as well as EV models of the Chrysler 200C, Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Patriot, and the Dodge Circuit.
Chrysler, in bankrupcy for nearly a month, is working on a deal to sell off assets to Fiat, the United Auto Workers, and both the American and Canadian governments. A judge is set to rule on those sales this week.