DETROIT – The Chrysler 200C EV electric-drive sedan unveiled today at the North American International Auto Show here, represents a “coming-out party for the new Chrysler (LLC),” says the auto maker’s vice chairman and president.

Jim Press says the concept car underscores what is possible at Chrysler, if the auto maker is given a chance to succeed.

Chrysler and General Motors Corp. currently are devising a business plan to satisfy terms of a multimillion-dollar taxpayer-funded bridge loan approved by the Bush Admin.

However, the 200C EV is not being considered for production as Chrysler’s first electric-drive vehicle. Nor does it hint at the next-generation Chrysler 300 sedan.

“The 300 is going in a different direction,” design chief Ralph Gilles tells Ward’s.

The 200C EV features a range-extender powertrain configuration that affords 400 miles (644 km) of driving without refueling, including 40 miles (64 km) of all-electric, zero-emissions travel.

It joins four other vehicles in Chrysler’s electric-drive stable – two Jeeps and one each from the Dodge and Chrysler brands.

The Chrysler and Jeeps represent first-generation electric-drive products, as they are based on existing vehicles, while the Dodge Circuit, also unveiled today, is derived from a Lotus Engineering platform.

The 200C represents Chrysler’s third-generation electric-drive development, Gilles says.