Chrysler has jumped on the eco-technology bandwagon by launching an engineering division specifically for building electric and hybrid vehicles. The new division, dubbed ENVI, will operate as a ‘start-up’ with an entrepreneurial environment, according to new CEO Robert Nardelli, and this should allow it to bring products to market more quickly.

With a focus on creating energy-efficient vehicles, ENVI will be located within the Chrysler Technology Center (CTC) in Auburn Hills, and will be comprised of a team of specialists in engineering, portfolio management, modular architecture, manufacturing, and procurement and supply.

With GM, Ford, and Toyota moving ahead with their hybrid plans Chrysler will need to catch up fast if it wants to exploit the move towards more environmentally friendly vehicles.

Chrysler’s first hybrid drivetrains, developed in collaboration with BMW and GM, will hit the market in 2009 and will initially be found in the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen.