Although the automaker had long been rumored to be spearheading the development of an electric Fiat 500, Chrysler officially announced today it will engineer and manufacture a 500 EV for North America.
“The alliance with Fiat presented new opportunities to merge Chrysler Group engineering knowledge with new platforms,” said Scott Kunselman, Chrysler’s senior vice president of engineering. “The Fiat 500 EV is an outstanding example of our efforts. The 500 is a small, lightweight platform perfect for integrating electric vehicle technologies.”
Last October, sources close to the Fiat-Chrysler organization suggested engineers formerly tied to Chrysler’s ENVI group — the organization formed to develop Chrysler’s electric and hybrid driveline technologies — were now charged with developing an electrified 500. The automaker rolled out a conceptual version of the 500 EV (pictured) at the 2010 Detroit auto show, but released no specifications on what lurked beneath the hood.
Chrysler is still mum on the details, other than saying the 500 EV will be powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Development of the entire system is already under way in Auburn Hills, and should be rolling off the assembly lines in Toluca, Mexico, by the end of 2012 — a full year after the gasoline-powered 500 arrives in Chrysler dealerships across the country.
There’s no word on if Chrysler’s EV driveline will be incorporated into 500s sold in Europe, but seeing as CEO Sergio Marchionne is adamant on sharing technologies and platforms between Chrysler and Fiat divisions, it seems like a realistic possibility.