CHRYSLER HAS shown electric demonstration vehicles that use lithium-ion battery packs to power an electric drive motor. A controller manages the energy flow. The system is being developed for FWD, RWD, and as shown here, 4WD applications. The idea is that these types of vehicles could become zero-emissions vehicles for people driving less than 150 miles per day, although we suspect the actual range would be significantly less in the real world. Still, it's an intriguing technology.
The Jeep EV, a "range-extended" electric vehicle, backs up the electric motor and battery pack with an integrated electric generator to produce additional energy to power the electric-drive system when needed. The 200-kW (268 horsepower) electric motor generates 295 pound-feet of torque. With approximately eight gallons of gasoline, the Jeep EV has a range of 400 miles, including 40 miles of all-electric operation.
Jeep engineers are also exploring four-wheel drive, using in-wheel electric motors to demonstrate more advanced electric-drive technologies. The instant high torque of the electric-drive motor and the ability to precisely control each wheel independently would supply off-road capability ideally suited for Jeeps, without compromising on-road driving characteristics.
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