Just days ago, SB LiMotive announced that it struck a deal with Fiat to become the sole lithium-ion battery supplier for the electrified version of the automaker's pint-sized 500 hatchback. SB LiMotive, a joint venture between South Korea-based Samsung SDI and Germany-based Bosch, was handed an exclusive contract to develop the electric Fiat 500's battery pack, but there is more to the story and meets the eye.
Back in August, the Detroit News reported that Massachusetts-based A123 Systems backed out of a deal that would've had it supplying batteries for the electric 500. At the time, A123 chief executive officer David Vieau stated that the company was withdrawing from the agreement because an unnamed supplier had stepped in with an offer to produce battery packs for Fiat "below current market price." In addition, A123 Systems stated that the scale of the 500 electric project had shrunk and was no longer of interest to the battery maker.
The battery-powered Fiat 500 is scheduled to debut stateside in 2012. At this time, the production volume of the 500 is still up in the air, but a project so small its of no use to a battery maker leaves us wondering. SB LiMotive intends to manufacture cells for the 500 in South Korea, develop the battery pack in Michigan and carry out final assembly in Ohio.
SB LiMotive to provide lithium-ion battery packs for Fiat 500EV
· Supply of lithium-ion battery packs marks first step for SB LiMotive to the U.S. EV market
· Battery supplier for the first commercial electric vehicle program of Chrysler LLC and the Fiat Group
· Production on the all-new full electric vehicle to begin in 2012
ORION, Mich. – SB LiMotive, the joint venture of Samsung SDI and Bosch, has been awarded the business to supply the lithium-ion battery packs for the Fiat 500EV, which will be launched in the U.S. market in 2012.
The Fiat 500EV, which demonstrates the benefits of the Chrysler and Fiat alliance, will be an environmentally friendly, clean, and quiet vehicle for the U.S. subcompact passenger car market.
The Fiat 500EV powertrain is comprised of three main systems: high power electric powertrain module, advanced lithium-ion battery and an EV control unit to manage power flows. All powertrain engineering and vehicle development will take place at Chrysler Group headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. Vehicle pricing and other specifics will be announced closer to the Fiat 500EV launch.
According to Dr. Joachim Fetzer, Executive Vice President of SB LiMotive, "Chrysler indicated that SB LiMotive earned this business because we can supply high-quality lithium-ion battery packs in the quantities needed, on-time to the market. Additionally, SB LiMotive has the technical expertise Chrysler will require as it launches this important program. Our established global footprint was a further strong point in our favor. We look forward to partnering with Chrysler in bringing this exciting new vehicle to market."
The battery packs are developed in Orion, Mich.; the battery cells will be produced in Korea; and the battery packs will be assembled in Springboro, Ohio.
In an effort to intensify the benefits of the alliance between Chrysler LLC and Fiat Group in electrification of powertrain, Fiat 500EV will be an outstanding example. The Fiat 500 is a small, lightweight platform perfect for integrating electric-vehicle technology. Chrysler is the vehicle electrification center of competence for both Chrysler LLC and the Fiat Group.