The Chrysler Group announced on March 22 its plans to engineer and produce a pure electric vehicle using the Fiat 500 platform, which was shown earlier this year at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.
"The alliance with Fiat presented new opportunities to merge Chrysler Group engineering knowledge with new platforms and the Fiat 500EV is an outstanding example of our efforts," said Scott Kunselman, Senior Vice President Engineering--Chrysler Group LLC. "The Fiat 500 is a small, lightweight platform perfect for integrating electric-vehicle technology."
The Fiat 500EV powertrain is comprised of three main systems; high power electric powertrain module, advance lithium ion battery, and an EV control unit to manage power flows.Beginning in 2012, Chrysler Group will manufacture the Fiat 500EV for the United States market. All powertrain engineering and vehicle development will take place at Chrysler Group headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. Pricing will be announced closer to launch, but will be competitive with similar electric vehicles in the market, the company said.
Last year Chrysler Group announced the company's intention to build the Fiat 500 with a combustion engine for North America. The vehicle will debut in late 2010.
Chrysler also announced that it has been selected for a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant of up to $48 million as part of a $2.4 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act DOE Vehicle Electrification program. The company is planning to build a total of 140 Ram PHEVs for a three-year demonstration project that includes various geographic and climatic locations across the United States.
"This initiative represents how government, automotive industry, suppliers and key partners are reaching common goals and demonstrates how rapidly this type of advanced technology can be brought to market."
The Ram PHEV features Chrysler Group's 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with a two mode hybrid transmission and a 12KwHr lithium ion battery. The vehicle is capable of up to 20 miles of zero-emission, pure-electric range without the need for gasoline. An overall fuel economy improvement more than 65% is expected for average drive cycles. Chrysler Group has partnered with Electrovaya Inc. to supply the advanced lithium Ion batteries for the Ram PHEV test fleet.
The DOE grant will expedite the development of vehicle-electrification technology. More than 21 Chrysler Group partners across the U.S., including utility companies, government agencies and Universities will independently test the Ram PHEV and provide valuable data for the advancement of the technology.
In 2008, Chrysler Group announced the company's intention to bring a Ram Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) to market. After closely evaluating the response to hybrid pickups in the marketplace, the company could not formulate an appropriate business case and has decided to cancel development work on the 2011 Ram HEV.