Unplugged: A123 Systems, Chrysler Part Ways on Fiat 500EV Project

It's not exactly a secret that the folks within the Chrysler Group are helping to engineer and develop an electrified version of the Fiat 500, but it seems there may be some mystery surrounding the car's lithium-ion battery packs.

In March, Chrysler announced that it would be working with A123 Systems -- the same firm once in the running to supply batteries to the Chevrolet Volt -- to develop battery packs for the so-called 500EV. A123 Systems has, however, apparently withdrawn from the project.

"A123 will not be supplying battery systems for the 500EV production program," Chrysler spokeswoman Katie Hepler told the Detroit Free Press. "A123 has been a good development partner in this program, and we appreciate their support."

Hepler noted Chrysler had nothing else to announce at this time, but we wouldn't be shocked (pardon the pun) to learn a new supplier is waiting in the wings. In fact, A123 Systems' CEO David Vieau told the Free Press that a competing supplier offered to supply batteries for the 500EV at a significantly lower price. That factor, coupled with the reduced scale of the project, prompted A123 to withdraw its hat from the ring.

Despite the switch, a Chrysler spokesperson tells us the change in supplier will have no impact on the program's timing. If so, look for the 500 EV to be built alongside its gas-powered siblings at Chrysler's assembly plant in Toluca, Mexico, in 2012.

Source: The Detroit Free Press

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