Don't let Chrysler bail on its electric vehicle promises

Don’t let Chrysler bail on its electric vehicle promises

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Chrysler, the recipient of $15.3 billion in taxpayer-funded bailout money — granted in part because of its promise to invest in electric vehicle technology — has just announced it is scrapping its plans for producing large volumes of electric cars.

Join us in telling Chrysler this is unacceptable. Pledge not to buy any Chrysler vehicles unless the automaker reinstates its electric vehicle program.

In testimony asking for a massive bailout assistance, Chrysler’s CEO testified to Congress that “[a] key feature of Chrysler’s future is our capability as an electric vehicle company”1 and that an expected “500,000 Chrysler electric-drive vehicles will be on the road by 2013.”2

This led lawmakers to believe Chrysler’s management recognized the bankruptcy not only of its financial ledgers, but also of its business model of producing large, gas-guzzling cars most consumers no longer want. As late as June 10 of this year, Chrysler’s Sergio Marchionne said, “Work is already underway to develop new environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient, high-quality vehicles, including Chrysler’s electric-vehicle program.”3

But this week, Chrysler announced it is disbanding its electric vehicle team and setting only token production numbers for electric vehicles (this includes full electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrids).4 Marchionne said he now expects annual sales of only 28,000 to 56,000 electric vehicles by 2014 — a far cry from Chrysler’s original plan to put 500,000 such vehicles on the road by 2013.5

The federal government owns a 10 percent stake in Chrysler, which means taxpayers do as well. As a part-owner of this car company, tell Chrysler it has received enough of your money via federal bailouts — and you won’t give it one cent more via a car purchase unless it lives up to its commitment to produce electric cars quickly and in high volumes.

Chrysler’s decision to abandon its electric car production plans has consequences. Our policy team estimates that more than one million extra tons of carbon dioxide — the chief gas causing global warming — could be emitted each year, starting in 2014, because of Chrysler’s cancellation of this program.


[1] “Chrysler Testimony to Senate Banking Committee,” December 4, 2008.
[2] Id.
[4] “Chrysler drops three electric vehicles despite having touted them to get billions in government bailout cash,” November 9, 2009. USA Today.
[5] “Chrysler Group LLC 2010 – 2014 Business Plan,” November 4, 2009. Slide #308.;;;