Fiat will start building a battery-electric version of its 500 compact this year, marking the Italian automaker's entrance into the EV production market. So said Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne in an official Chrysler tweet recently that said:

Marchionne: at Chrysler we are working on an electric version of the Fiat 500 that we'll begin manufacturing later this year.

As you can read, Marchionne didn't say how many EVs would be produced or how much it would cost, though the 500 EV will likely have about 100 horsepower as well as about a 90-mile single-charge range, the website said. Marchionne once estimated that Fiat would lose about $10,000 on each 500 EV sold. Fiat hasn't put out an official statement on the model.

Fiat unveiled its 500 Elettra battery-electric concept at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, though has been relatively quiet since. A privately converted 500 EV was notably owned by now-deceased Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Earlier this month, Corrado Clini, a member of Italy's Ministry of the Environment, said Fiat missed an opportunity to gain from growing global demand for electric-drive vehicles by choosing to work on more fuel-efficient internal combustion engines instead of hybrids and electric powertrains, the Wall Street Journal reported.


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  • 23 Comments
      DaveMart
      • 1 Day Ago
      What would make the difference to Chrysler and Fiat in the US is if the Administration decided to get behind CNG in a big way to provide infrastructure. Fiat are the biggest builders of CNG vehicles in the world, and make them at little significant premium to diesel. I have reservations about the meme that CNG supplies are effectively infinite in the US, at any rate at present prices, but any drive towards its use would significantly benefit both. That is where a lot of Fiat's development money has gone.
      Spec
      • 1 Day Ago
      But will it be any good? Or will it just be an over-priced kludgey conversion. If it is just a crappy conversion then don't bother. That would have been fine a year ago but not now. You will just have a self-fulfilling prophecy if you build a crappy over-priced conversion.
      TurboFroggy
      • 1 Day Ago
      They will no doubt come up with a pricetag of $50K, no one will buy them, then they will call it a failue and discontinue them. Chrysler does well at producing mediocre cars that can't even get the current 26MPG CAFE standard, this isn't their style. No Hemi. If they do actually produce them, the entire number they manage to produce all this year, Nissan will make that many Leaf's in a week.
      Anderlan
      • 1 Day Ago
      It's a light chassis for an EV conversion, I'll give it that much. But 100hp and 90-miles requires a fracking expensively large battery. Someone needs to work on making a 25 or 40 mile city runabout for $12 or $15k. Suburbanites like me would buy one of those for work and a typical hybrid for play (holiday trips).
        Spec
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Anderlan
        "25 or 40 mile city runabout for $12 or $15k" That is pretty damn hard. $12K is pretty much those lowest price gas car . . . and an electric (even just getting 25 to 40 mile range) will add to that amount. The Mitsubishi-i sounds close to what you want but it is $29,125 . . . but that is $21,625 after tax-credit. It has a 63 mile range. It really isn't worth going to a smaller battery since 63 miles is pretty damn short and going smaller means they would not get the full $7500 tax-credit.
        Spec
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Anderlan
        Of course maybe Dan can build you one. He says it is really easy to build cheap EVs.
      JonathanBond
      • 1 Day Ago
      F*cking Impractical Ass Transportation
      PR
      • 1 Day Ago
      This is classic Eric Lovejoy style of writing. Briefly mention the topic of the post, then pile on every single negative thing you can find into the story. It creates buzz, right? It's like Eric Lovejoy never left.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 1 Day Ago
        @PR
        Yeah, no kidding! You totally nailed it! ABG, hire some folks who are actually enthusiastic about the topic for ****'s sake.
      Actionable Mango
      • 1 Day Ago
      Who knew Libya was such a trendsetter.
      • 1 Day Ago
      Well just a tiny correction -- this new model is not FIAT's first modern electric vehicle -- that would be the 1992-1996 Cinquecento Elettra with lead-acid battery packs. The new 500 electric will be a great plug-in city car. Perfect for parallel parking and short trips.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Day Ago
      Welcome to the party Chrysler, better late than never. If they can undercut the leaf by a good margin they may be able to make up for their loses by in volume. Siri,.. remind me to short Chrysler stock.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Day Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Fiat has a $20k price difference to play with, and apparently the willingness to lose $10k per car, so perhaps they can indeed undercut the Leaf.
      Nick
      • 1 Day Ago
      Not convinced this will make sense. The 500 might not be the best suited car for electrification... How about cutting weight, and proposing EFFICIENT gas/ diesel engines instead?? This car could get 40 to 50mph and be awesome the way it is.
      noevfud
      • 1 Day Ago
      Is that before or after credits?
      marcopolo
      • 1 Day Ago
      Poor old Chrysler! Once one of the most creative and innovative of all car makers. The company still bears the name of one of the worlds most competent and efficient industrialists. Chrysler has come to define everything that's gone wrong with US industry over the past 40 years. Chrysler desperately needs a US industrialist to revive the company, not a series of owners who neither understand nor have the capacity to revive Chrysler. GM was rescued and restructured by the US government permitting GM to utilise it's overseas resources in it's revived model range. Ford survived due to the brilliant management of Alan Mulally and the determinedly courageous support of the Ford family, led by William Clay Ford jr. But Chrysler has staggered from indifferent owners to bad marriages, haphazardly assisted by the US government, (only to prevent supply chain problems for Ford and GM.) Finally, Chrysler was sold, like an embarrassing poor relation, to Fiat, whose circumstances are not much better than Chrysler's. Chrysler lacks the resources, the inspiration, and capital to produce a Tesla or even a Leaf or Volt. Chrysler still has some inspirational designers, residual of goodwill , diminished by the sale to Fiat. A desperate strategy of appealing to die-hard ICE buyers, to take advantage of ageing technology and cheaper production costs, with CAFE regs offset by unsuccessful Fiat econo-models grafted into the range, will only produce a short term reprieve. Lacking investment capital, or inspirational US management, Chrysler will stagger from embarrassment to embarrassment, with nothing but ignominy and failure in it's future. Very sad. It might have been kinder to let Chrysler die! Yet Chrysler still owners three valuable brands, and a huge amount of public affection for it's history. Surely, somewhere in the US there's an industrialist with vision to rescue Walter P Chrysler's vision of US Industry at it's best?
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