Louis Rhodes

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Louis Rhodes was born August 31, 1960 at Detroit Osteopathic Hospital in Michigan. He is an American automobile industry employee at Chrysler LLC as the director of design engineering and was appointed as the president of ENVI on September 13, 2007. Louis Rhodes has been in charge of various projects as the ME four-twelve, Chrysler Group’s Minivan Stow’n Go Seating, and the electric-drive vehicle Chrysler LLC organization called ENVI.

Louis Rhodes graduated from Western Michigan University in 1983 with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. After graduating from WMU, Louis was appointed as the senior release engineer at General Motors until 1986. He was then employed from 1986 until 1987 as an engineering manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Then from 1987 until 1993 Louis was the director of CAD/CAE services at MSX International. Since leaving MSX International in 1993, Louis Rhodes has been employed at Chrysler. He has held positions within the product engineering and product design organizations and has also been the director of advanced vehicle concepts and innovation group.

ME Four- Twelve

One of Louis Rhodes’s large projects as Chrysler group’s chief design engineer was working on the ME Four-Twelve car [1]. Louis Rhodes worked in conjunction with Trevor Creed and Wolfgang Bernhard on the project with an emphasis of keeping it a secret. In the efforts of secrecy, Louis only involved a few suppliers and had various code names for the car so that they could pinpoint if anyone leaked information. This high performance car was unveiled at the 2004 Detroit auto show after it merely being an idea 12 months prior. The ME Four-Twelve is made of aluminum honeycomb covered in carbon fiber panels, and can go from 0-to-60 mph in only 2.9 seconds. Additionally this car has a top speed of 248 mph (399 km/h) and 850 horsepower (630 kW).1

Stow ’n Go

Louis Rhodes is also responsible for the creation of Stow ’n Go seating in the Chrysler Town & Country and the Dodge Grand Caravan minivans. Stow ’n Go seating became known to be a reality after Louis Rhodes and his son, Jon Rhodes, had been tinkering with an Erector Set in their kitchen [2]. Stow ’n Go seating was revolutionary because while fold on to the floor seating was the new option to be offered in minivans, Stow ’n Go seating allows the second and third-rows of seats to fold in to the floor [3]. For this revolutionary idea, Louis Rhodes received first place for the 2005 Walter P Chrysler Technology Award for U.S Patent NO 6,955,386 issued October 18, 2005 “underfloor stowage of a folding seat in a vehicle". [4]

ENVI

Most recent is Louis Rhodes’s appointment to the president of ENVI on September 13, 2007 [5]. ENVI is Chrysler’s vehicle development initiative that is focused on being environmentally responsible. The mission of ENVI is to design and produce Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles that use pure electric or hybrid powertrains [6]. At the 2008 North American International Auto Show Chrysler LLC unveiled three environmentally friendly concept vehicles. The vehicles shown were the Chrysler ecoVoyager that would be powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, The Jeep Renegade with a Bluetec diesel, and the Dodge ZEO would be an electric-only vehicle powered by a 64 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery.2

Notes

  1. ^ Jewett, Dale. (2004, January 12). Supercar conceived under cloak of secrecy. Automotive News, 32
  2. ^ Higgins, Tim. (2008, January 14). 3 concepts to exhibit a shift toward environmental balance. Detroit Free Press. 3-3B

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