FCA plans the electric Fiat 500 for 2020 as it advances from Renault

TURIN: Fiat Chrysler (FCA) plans to spend 700 million euros ($ 788 million) to take the electric Fiat 500 as the automaker passes its failed offer of $ 35 billion to merge with the French. Renault , pioneer in electric vehicles.

FCA's director of operations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Pietro Gorlier, announced on Thursday the largest individual bet of the Italian-American company for an electric vehicle at its Mirafiori plant in Turin, in northern Italy.

FCA's investment is part of a plan announced last year to spend 5 billion euros in Italy until 2021.

Gorlier told reporters that FCA had begun building the new production line at Mirafiori to produce 80,000 of the new 500 BEV, its first electric vehicle battery to be marketed in europe.

The original 500 model, launched by Fiat in the late 1950s and affectionately known as the Cinquecento, quickly became a symbol of Italian urban design.

The 3,500 Mirafiori workers expect the new electric mini-car to revive a plant that, according to LMC Automotive estimates, is below 10% of its capacity this year.

Workers in Fiat's hometown are also betting on the hybrid version of Maserati Lift SUV, in whose production is expected to start next year, to help increase your work hours.

An earlier version of the electric 500 has been produced in the United States to comply with local authority regulations on zero emissions. cars . But the former CEO Sergio Marchionne He asked customers not to buy the car in 2014 as FCA was losing money on it, and said he hoped to sell as few as possible.

The production of the 500 new-engineered BEV will begin in the second quarter of 2020, with room to expand later, Gorlier said.

The 500 BEV will compete in the luxury small car segment with BMW 's Mini. The German company said this week the new electric version of its compact car I would start reaching customers from the spring of next year.

In abandoning its merger offer for Renault, FCA blamed French politics for scuttling what would have been a landmark deal to create the world's third-biggest automaker.