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Looking Back At The 2009 Dodge Circuit Electric Vehicle (EV)

In September 2007, Chrysler LLC announced the formation of ENVI – representing the first four letters of “environmental” – the new in-house organization was to focus on electric-drive production vehicles and related advanced technologies. Led by Lou Rhodes, President – ENVI, and Vice President – Advanced Vehicle Engineering, the ENVI team had access to the … (read full article...)

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Well-known member
Oct 15, 2019
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Frostbite Falls, MN
There is one project that lived into the FCA era, but only briefly. The newly formed FCA did try to sell a battery electric van to the USPS, but the government didn't think the company would last. FCA also produced a Lotus competitor, the Alfa Romeo 4C. Not electrifying that model into a Dodge Circuit was a missed opportunity, IMO.

As much as I believe the Cerberus gang were running a smoke show to help flip the company, the ENVI concepts had a desirability factor which seems missing from the latest CDJR products. I have already mentioned the Dodge ZEO in another thread, I don't know if that concept was part of the ENVI project because it predates that by a few months. The Chrysler 200 PHEV concept was presented as an ENVI project and embodied that desirability missing from the eventual production model. We really did get a plugin minivan, the Pacifica PHEV. It now has been around nearly eight model years and has changed very little. The hybrid system the Pacifica uses has not been used in any other Stellantis products or received any major updates. How many generations of the Toyota hybrid system have there been in that time? Toyota is on the fifth generation, and I think the last two have been during the time of the Pacifica hybrid.

When I participated in the CAB conversations, I remember how the Jeep Patriot ENVI concept resonated with a lot of us. While it was only a front drive vehicle, a simple utilitarian EV with a range extender, the drive train came from an outside vendor, but it represents what a lot of people wanted at that time. I think a lot of consumers still desire a very basic efficient utility vehicle. Ford thinks so and offers the Maverick hybrid, although that is mostly a smoke show. The Ford Bronco Sport's success in the marketplace shows evidence that desire remains. North America never received the Renegade 4Xe. It could of been a winner.

The front-drive based 4Xe system did cross the pond in the Alfa Romeo Tonale and Dodge Hornet. When I see the Dodge ZEO and Circuit concepts, I'm saddened that the Hornet is what we get instead. Don't get me wrong, the PHEV drivetrain in the Tonale and Hornet models is far superior to what was under the hood of most of the ENVI concepts, but that "gotta have it" is missing from the Dodge.
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bill burke

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Dec 9, 2020
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Short and sweet. This is so clearly the type of car Dodge MUST build it makes me sick to look at it. If Dodge does not build a compact sport coupe off the STLA Midsize platform, that is tragic. Look at this for inspiration, imagine a sporty, affordable Dodge and frankly with sadness also the short sighted management types ruining Dodge who will pass on it most likely. Base four, hybrid electric and all electric in something like this, just too obvious, logical and for Dodge necessary. Sad the obvious is hard to see in the lofty heights of upper management. Feeling sick right now.


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Jul 27, 2021
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So much of Chrysler Corp was destroyed by the crappy Daimler merger. Cerberus was a joke. FCA was another European domination. The Europeans just don't get why we Americans love are cars. Europe cars are utilitarian and are pretty soulless. The newer FCA/Stellantis products are a hit or miss. The Pacifica and Ram was hit, the new Wagoneer and Grand Cherokee and Renegade was miss. You can tell that newer products are moving away to more European design. Miss my 300M, 15 Dodge Dart.

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