Chrysler to make electric car Fiat 500 for U.S. market

 “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,” Scott Kunselman, Chrysler’s senior vice-president engineering, said in a statement. “The Fiat 500 is a small, lightweight platform perfect for integrating electric vehicles technology.”

Chrysler is behind other major automakers in bringing rechargeable electric vehicles to market. Nissan Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. will sell electric models this year. Italy’s Fiat Group SpA took over management of Chrysler after it emerged from bankruptcy protection last year.

Shown earlier this year at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Fiat 500EV powertrain is comprised of three main systems: high power electric powertrain module, advance lithium ion batteries, and an EV control unit to manage power flows.

Beginning in 2012, Chrysler Group will manufacture the electric cars Fiat 500 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.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC expects electricity-powered vehicles to account for as much as 40% of the worldwide car market by 2050, chief executive Peter Voser said on Thursday. "We think between now and 2050, we will go from 1 billion cars to 2 billion cars worldwide," he said. "We think by 2050, roughly 40% of those 2 billion cars will be electric."

In the next 40 years, the market needs low-carbon fuels, more efficient engines and hybrid vehicles, Mr. Voser said. "I think there will be room and space to develop all of them," he added. Automakers such as Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd are racing to launch electric cars, betting these will be the environmentally friendly transportation of the future. Small players like Tesla Motors already sell electric vehicles. Mr. Voser said Shell was investing 25% of its research and development budget into renewables, including wind power.