Fiat pulls the plug on Chrysler's electric car program

After announcing some impressive plans to develop electric cars earlier this year, Chrysler has provided few details lately, and now we know why: the company has disbanded its crash program to produce vehicles running on electrons. Chrysler has also backed off a bold January 2009 pledge to manufacture 500,000 conventional and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by 2013. Reuters reported the sad news late Friday in an interview with Fiat CEO Serigo Marchionne.

Fiat, reportedly aghast at the horrific condition of its newly acquired U.S. subsidiary, decided to pull the plug on the speculative but exciting effort to add some green to Detroit's also-ran brand. The move is another step in Marchionne's efforts to shake up personnel and organizational structure at Chrysler. Marchionne declared U.S. car sales "a disaster" in September, according to the Daily News in New York.