FCA Putting $788 Million Behind New 500 EV, Small Battery Platform

Fiat Chrysler will invest $788 million to build a production line for the new 500 electric, according to the company’s European CFO Pietro Gorlier. An extension of automaker’s plan to to dump 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) into Italy, the deal makes good on earlier promises that the automaker would establish a dedicated small battery-electric vehicle platform. 

FCA’s larger investment is to span through 2021 and would see the Fiat 500 battery electric produced at the Mirafiori plant in Turin while Melfi handled the new Jeep Compass and Renegade PHEVs. The hybrid systems are supposed to employ a turbocharged 1.3-liter gasoline engine with a a total output of 240 horsepower. Jeep has previously claimed that both would manage 31 miles of all-electric driving and a 0-to-60 time under seven seconds.

Automotive News reported that FCA has already installed the first production robot for the future 500 electric vehicle assembly line at Mirafiori. The facility is expected to build 80,000 units a year with production starting in the second quarter of 2020, with Gorlier suggesting capacity could be expanded if need be. It’s anticipated to be a colossal improvement over the current 500e ⁠— boasting a highly competitive range, fun dynamics, more luxury and a higher price tag. Meanwhile, the non-electric 500 is supposed to continue knocking around for an indeterminate amount of time on the existing platform.

It’s unclear how closely the new 500 EV it will mimic the Panda-inspired Centoventi electric we saw previewed in Geneva this year — if it bothers to at all. But the presiding assumption is that it would adopt the concept vehicle’s planned customizability and some futuristic styling elements while attempting to remain faithful to the 500’s historic image. A few FCA staffers have already confessed that the two won’t resemble each other in the slightest, however.

[Images: FCA]

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