This is the Chrysler 200C EV, a concept car launched at the Detroit motor show that previews the next Chrysler 300C. But it’s also an electric car, with a range of up to 40 miles on electric power alone.
The new Chrysler 300C will be important for the firm’s survival. The current car has sold well and helped to redefine the concept of a truly American saloon, although the 200C EV concept replaces the slab-sided, upright styling with a sleeker, though not as individual, look.
“It was important to design a car that not only appealed to the Chrysler enthusiast, but also could sway the interest of a wide variety of potential customers,” said the car’s exterior designer Nick Malachowski.
The Chrysler 200C EV is based on the same platform as the 300C, which itself is based on the W210 Mercedes E-class, but it's been shortened. A small petrol engine drives a generator which, in turn, charges the batteries – it’s the same principle used by the Chevrolet Volt.
The cabin in the Chrysler 200C EV is pure concept car, with no switchgear apart from the steering column stalks. Chrysler is working hard to improve the quality of its cabins, and this car was designed by the firm’s Advance Interior Design studio, charged with "improving the fit and finish on all future Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles".
The 200C EV also features car-to-car networking, a Facebook-style system that allows 200C drivers to contact other drivers, display their position and share directions and music.
The next Chrysler 300C will have to increase Chrysler’s appeal in markets outside the USA. The current car, though well regarded for its individual looks and value, has never made any significant in-roads into the mid-size saloon market in Europe.