Chrysler to build electric Fiat 500, plug-in Ram

The new Fiat 500 from Chrysler

Chrysler recently announced plans to build an electric version of the Fiat 500 in the United States.  The minicar is slated to go on sale in the US in 2012.  A prototype of the vehicle, called the Fiat 500EV, was on display at the latest Detroit Auto Show.  The concept version utilized an electric motor along with a lithium-ion battery pack and electric vehicle-control unit to power it.

Chrysler’s senior vice-president of engineering Scott Kunselman said that a light, small platform like the Fiat 500’s is perfect for electric vehicle technology.  Powering a car purely on an electric motor is easier to do in smaller, lighter vehicles.

Chrysler is set to release a gas-powered Fiat 500 in the United States later this year under the Fiat moniker.

In the same announcement, Chrysler revealed that it will also be producing a fleet of hybrid plug-in Dodge Ram pickup trucks.  The automaker will receive up to $48 million in order to produce a fleet of 140 vehicles.  The plug-in Ram will be powered by a 5.7-liter V-8 engine mated with a two-mode hybrid transmission and a lithium-ion battery pack.  On a single charge the truck should be able to travel up to 20 miles on electric power alone.

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