Chrysler to Develop New Fiat 500 Electric Vehicle for the US; Ram PHEV to Offer 20 Miles All-electric Range
|Fiat 500EV. Click to enlarge.|
Chrysler Group LLC plans to engineer and produce a battery electric vehicle using the Fiat 500 platform. Previewed earlier this year at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, the Fiat 500EV demonstrates the immediate benefits of the alliance between Chrysler Group and the Fiat Group as well as the speed at which the two companies can work together on advanced vehicle programs, according to Chrysler.
The Fiat 500EV powertrain comprises three main systems; high power electric powertrain module, advanced 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.
Chrysler Group is the vehicle electrification center of competence for both Chrysler Group and Fiat Group. (Earlier post.) The company is exploring ways to promote zero-emission transportation and the development of an electric-vehicle charging infrastructure through partnerships to be announced in the future.
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. The Fiat 500 is a small, lightweight platform perfect for integrating electric-vehicle technology.
—Scott Kunselman, Senior Vice President Engineering—Chrysler Group LLC
Last year Chrysler Group announced the company’s intention to build the Fiat 500 with a combustion engine for North America. That vehicle will debut in late 2010.
Ram Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). Chrysler Group was selected for a US 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. (Earlier post.) Chrysler Group 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.
The Ram PHEV features Chrysler Group’s 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with a two-mode hybrid transmission and a 12 kWh lithium ion battery. The vehicle is capable of up to 20 miles of all-electric range. An overall fuel economy improvement more than 65% is expected for average drive cycles. Chrysler Group has partnered with Electrovaya Inc. to supply the Li-ion batteries for the Ram PHEV test fleet.
More than 21 Chrysler Group partners across the US, 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.