Advertisement

Chrysler To Build All-Electric Version of Fiat 500 for U.S. Market

Follow John

2010 Fiat 500 BEV

2010 Fiat 500 BEV

Enlarge Photo

Much mystery surrounded the electric versions of the Fiat 500 that have appeared at auto shows over the last year.

Now, Chrysler has cleared up a bit of the confusion: It will build an electric Fiat 500 for the U.S. market, with a powertrain developed by engineers at its Michigan headquarters, at a price that's "competitive with similar electric vehicles in the market."

Fiat 500 BEV Concept on Chrysler standard, 2010 Detroit Auto Show

Fiat 500 BEV Concept on Chrysler standard, 2010 Detroit Auto Show

Enlarge Photo

2010 Fiat 500 BEV

2010 Fiat 500 BEV

Enlarge Photo

2010 Fiat 500 BEV

2010 Fiat 500 BEV

Enlarge Photo

The Fiat 500 EV will go into production in 2012, perhaps as a 2013 model. By that time, electric cars on the market will include the 2010 Tesla Roadster, 2011 Nissan Leaf, 2011 Coda Sedan, 2011 Chevrolet Volt, 2011 Fisker Karma, and 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid.

According to a Chrysler spokesman, the specifications of the 500 BEV concept shown at auto shows should not be viewed as reflective of a production vehicle.

While Nick Cappa, a Chrysler PR manager for technology, offered no details on technology, energy storage, power, performance, range, or timing, he acknowledged two marginally interesting points.

It would be "safe to assume," he said, both that the engine-less Fiat 500 vehicles to be converted to electric drive might be built at the Mexico plant where standard 500s will be manufactured.

Observers might also assume, he said, that lithium-ion cell maker A123 Systems--with whom Chrysler has said it is working--might be involved in designing the battery pack that will be used in the electric 500.

Cappa's most revealing comment came in describing the potential buyers of a Fiat 500 EV: "daily commuters who don't travel more than 40 miles a day"--though he hastened to add that the 500 EV would have a range "well beyond that" and be highway capable.

Like most pure electric vehicles going into production, the electric Fiat is on the small side. "The Fiat 500 is a small, lightweight platform perfect for integrating electric-vehicle technology," said Scott Kunselman, Chrysler Group's senior vice president of engineering.

The conventional gasoline-powered 2011 Fiat 500 will go on sale at selected Chrysler dealers in the U.S. before the end of this year. While EPA ratings haven't yet been issued, we'd expect it to be on a par with the 2010 Mini Cooper, at 28 mpg city, 37 mpg highway.

Despite various pre-bankruptcy promises and pledges, the Fiat 500 EV is the first electric car Chrysler has announced it will build, because electric cars have gained a far higher profile lately. "They're not just important," Cappa said. "They're necessary."

[Chrysler Group LLC]

Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (3)
  1. Of course, it needs to be under $25K. Will it come in under $35K? They can hit all the performance specs they want, but if it's too expensive and gas is still $3/gallon they can forget it.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. Hello John,
    thank you for the article...
    I have to admit it seems I lost overview...
    last time I looked Chrysler was divorced from Daimler with Mercedes being fed up by the "marriage made in heaven"...
    Fiat was (is?) a GM partner...
    how comes Chrysler is gonna build a Fiat EV model????
    despite of that: With the Fiat being voted as the sexiest/nicest car in Germany by the highly stylish gay community, I am sure this can turn out to be a smart move...the car may be adopted by celebrities and first movers so it becomes "classy"...
    It also makes sense because an industry insider told me that the reason that - in my opinion - premium car makers are reluctant to build full EVs is that the drivetrain is responsible for 30-50% of the value added income for this carmaker...
    an EV is by far easier to build (except for the battery, which is not knowledge owned by the carmaker but by 3rd party companies like 123)
    So it may make sense for Chrysler to be more like a assembler (Car by fiat, battery by 123...) to follow this strategy...
    it will be much harder for those automakers with high investment and knowledge in the Otto-engine drivetrains...
    My two cents
    Daniel
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. Bring the Fiat EV in production I'll be the first to buy one. My old 94 diesel gets better fuel mileage then 80% of the chrysler/dodge lineup. Its about time we see a good electric car come out.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find Green Cars

Go!

Advertisement

 
© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.