It is not often that surprises happen in the age of the Internet, but somehow Chrysler managed to keep a brand new electric vehicle under the radar until yesterday! During their presentation of upcoming electric vehicles at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chrysler revealed the 200C EV – a stunning new extended-range concept car that will stand in direct competition against the Chevy Volt.

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There’s no better time and place to salivate over cool looking cars and beautiful concepts than the North American International Auto Show, and this year has proven to be no exception. Everyone expected Chrysler to show their already revealed range of EV’s such as the Town & Country, Jeep Wrangler and the Dodge Circuit EV previously shown here at Inhabitat, but no one expected the unheralded release of a new vehicle.

The 200C EV is an extended-range vehicle powered by an electric motor assisted by a small gasoline engine. The vehicle can drive for 40 miles on the electric motor alone, and over 400 miles when assisted by the gas motor. The styling is based on the 300C, but it was modified slightly to reduce wind resistance and improve efficiency. Inside, the car features a multimedia touch screen instead of the usual array of buttons. It also comes with a tablet pc for the passenger, will be networked to other vehicles, and will allow parents to set limits to their kids’ driving range.

The 200C EV is not likely to go into production soon, as it is still a fairly new concept, but it does show Chrysler’s commitment to push for more efficient good-looking vehicles. According to Chrysler, they expect to have around 500,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2013.

This year’s North American International Auto Show was expected to be a low-key affair, with the industry facing their most difficult year in decades. It is in fact unlikely that the show will be the same in years to come. But for now, it is good to know that the industry has realized that their next generation vehicles must be as green as they can be.

+ Chrysler

Via New York Times