Chrysler to Show Electric Fiat 500 Concept

Posted: December 23, 2009

Maybe the Chrysler-Fiat merger is going better than expected.

Automotive News reports, "Chrysler Group will show off two vehicles at next month's Detroit auto show hinting at future collaborations under Italy's Fiat S.p.A, according to two sources familiar with the plans."

One of the concepts is, according to Automotive News, "A Lancia Delta mid-size hatchback with a Chrysler grille." It's the other one that's generating a lot of chatter. And some voltage.

According to reports, Chrysler is intending to show an electric Fiat 500. The 500 is a popular car in the European market, and Chrysler and Fiat hope it can take on the Mini Cooper here. Autoblog says, " We've heard that the automaker's erstwhile ENVI group was disbanded and assimilated into the rest of the company's product development workforce, so we're curious to see the integration of a battery-powered drivetrain into the little urban runabout. Will it be a fully-functional vehicle or just a mock-up of what could potentially be possible?"

Bloomberg reports, "Chrysler’s decision on whether to put the car into production is unknown, said the people, who declined to be identified because the details aren’t public. Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said last month the company plans to produce about 56,000 electric vehicles annually by 2014, and Chrysler may base its initial model on the Fiat Doblo van."

With the electric Fiat 500, Chrysler and Fiat may have more than just the gas-powered Mini in their sights. Bloomberg says, "An electric Fiat 500 gives Chrysler a competitor to Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s Mini-E electric car. BMW began leasing a limited run of Mini Cooper plug-in electric cars this year."

With its small size and light weight, an electric subcompact like the Fiat 500 or Mini-E could make sense for a lot of urban dwellers. However, with Chrysler keeping quiet on when or if the electric 500 could be produced, and most areas lacking the infrastructure required to charge the cars, most consumers will likely have to wait a little longer before taking advantage of the technology.

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