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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