Chrysler to make electric Fiat 500

fiat_500_ev_concept.top.jpgA concept version of the Fiat 500 EV.By Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Chrysler Group announced Monday that it plans to produce a purely electric version of the iconic Fiat 500 minicar.

Chrysler is already set to begin selling the gasoline-powered 500 through Chrysler dealerships later this year.

The electric version will go on sale in 2012, a Chrysler spokesman said, with a price that will be "competitive" with other fully electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf, that will be on sale at that time.

A concept version of the Fiat 500 EV was shown in January at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.

While the basic 500 is a Fiat product, the electric drive machinery was created and adapted for the 500 by Chrysler. Chrysler is now the 'center of competence" for vehicle electrification for both Chrysler Group and Fiat, the spokesman said.

Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in June of last year and the two companies share the same chief executive, Sergio Marcchionne.

Prior to its bankruptcy, Chrysler had maintained a separate electric vehicle division, called Envi. While that division has been dissolved, Chrysler has said it continues to work on electric cars.

"Fiat gave us a lot of opportunities," the spokesman said. "A lot of platforms we didn't have before."

The 500's small size and light weight make it ideal for electric power, he said.

Chrysler also announced a plan to produce 140 plug-in hybrid Ram trucks as part of a demonstration project. The trucks, which will have up to 65% better fuel economy and an electric-only driving range of up to 20 miles, are being produced with the help of a $48 million Department of Energy grant.

At the same time, the automaker announced it was ending plans to produce a non-plug-in Hybrid version of the Ram truck, which had been expected to go on sale this year.

"After closely evaluating the response to hybrid pickups in the marketplace, the company could not formulate an appropriate business case," Chrysler said in a corporate announcement.

The Ram Hybrid was going to use a hybrid system co-developed with General Motors. GM began selling its own hybrid full-size truck last year. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Find Your Next Car
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,982.59 22.02 0.13%
Nasdaq 4,444.91 -4.65 -0.10%
S&P 500 1,978.91 0.57 0.03%
Treasuries 2.49 0.02 0.89%
Data as of 7:03pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 99.02 1.99 2.05%
Facebook Inc 74.92 -0.06 -0.08%
Bank of America Corp... 15.50 -0.09 -0.58%
Dollar Tree Inc 54.87 -0.08 -0.15%
Family Dollar Stores... 75.74 15.08 24.86%
Data as of 4:03pm ET

Sections

Herbalife shares tumble after the maker of nutritional supplements reports earnings that fall short of analysts' estimates. More

New annual report from U.S. government shows the long-term prognosis for Medicare has improved thanks to slower health spending, while the outlook for Social Security remains unchanged. More

Online dating site OkCupid found its users were more likely to have conversations when it told them they were more compatible than in reality. More

Actor-founded This Bar Saves Lives had Hollywood connections, but learned Start-Up 101 the hard way. More

Steve Mason, a pastor from California, inherited more than $100,000 in student loan debt when his 27-year-old daughter died suddenly in 2009. With interest and late penalties, the debt has since ballooned to $200,000. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.