Fiat Chrysler will pour US$788 million ($1.1 billion) into the next-generation Fiat 500 EV, despite failing to merge with Renault.
The investment will be used (in part) to build a new production line at Fiat Chrysler's plant in Turin, Italy, initially capable of building 80,000 units per year. The plant will employ around 1200 people dedicated to electric vehicles.
Should demand increase, the factory will be capable of scaling up its output to meet it, but "a lot will depend on how quickly demand for electric vehicles develops", according to Pietro Gorlier, Fiat Chrysler chief operating officer in Europe, the Middle East and Africa
"This car was entirely conceived, designed and engineered here. It is a genuine product of ‘Made at Fiat’ and ‘Made in Turin’ ingenuity. It is another excellent example of the ability to create and innovate which abounds in our company and in this city," Gorlier said of the 500 EV.
When it launches, the 500 EV will be the first pure-electric Fiat sold in Europe. The previous 500e was reserved for the North American market and never made money for Fiat Chrysler, much to the chagrin of the late Sergio Marchionne.
The new 500 EV is expected to launch at the Geneva motor show next year, and will be sold alongside the existing internal-combustion model. It'll be built on a new platform dedicated to electric vehicles, with similar proportions to the current model but a more futuristic design.
Pricing hasn't been determined, but the 500 EV is expected to be a more premium proposition with a higher price to match.