Chrysler plans to start selling electric vehicles in the next three to five years.

A spokesman told Reuters that the automaker's new Envi unit, created last September, is developing vehicles that are intended to run on battery power alone for about 40 miles (64 km).

"The group is looking to have a product available in the marketplace in the next three to five years," the spokesman said.

The report said Chrysler is working on a new generation of hybrid vehicles with lithium-ion batteries that are lighter and store more energy than the nickel-metal hydride batteries now in wide use but has yet to detail any partnership for the project or for the development and sourcing of the batteries.

Reuters noted that Chrysler showed three 'green' concept cars at the last Detroit motor show with electric motors that would be powered by lithium-ion batteries.

"Chrysler will produce technology similar to one of them or a combination of the three," the spokesman told the news agency.