Fiat/Chrysler EV Program Loses Battery Supplier A123

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Just weeks before Chrysler filed for bankruptcy last year, it announced a battery partnership with A123 Systems, which would have provided Lithium-ion batteries for Chrysler’s ENVI lineup of EV vapor. Needless to say, the ENVI program disappeared after bankruptcy, but A123 stuck around and was rewarded with the supply contract for Chrysler’s only prospective EV project, th Fiat 500 EV. Now, the Freep reports that A123 has withdrawn from the Fiat 500 EV project, and its CEO tells Bloomberg that

a competing vendor had been willing to take the business at a lower price and that the program had been “significantly diminished.”

It’s not clear if A123 was upset with a reduction in planned Fiat 500 EV volume, or if the partnership’s downgrade from a “full line” of ENVI EVs to the 500 EV project represented the unwanted volume reduction. In any case, Chrysler CEO still planns on selling 56k EVs per year by 2014, and it’s strange that A123 would give up that long-term volume opportunity. But, according to A123, another automaker has more serious plans to grow EV volume, and A123 will be concentrating on that partnership. What program is that? Where does this leave the Fiat 500 EV? Is A123 in even more trouble than Chrysler? As usual with EV programs, there are more questions here than answers…

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Aug 13, 2010

    If a supplier backs out of a major program like that, it must be that Chrysler/Fiat applied too much price pressure on them. A123 isn't interested in losing money. This would also indicate that the cost for the energy density is still too high, meaning A123 could meet the energy spec and the cost spec, but not both, particularly if projected sales volume drops. This is the area in which Nissan is claiming a breakthrough for the Leaf. A123 may also have doubted Fiat's claims of selling 56k cars a year in 2014, especially for a very high price premium. A123's new suitor may have much more credible EV plans than Fiat could muster.

  • Mcs Mcs on Aug 13, 2010

    Speaking of other potential problems or conflicts, I noticed that GM has trademarked "EN-V" for Land vehicles; electric powered land vehicles; motorized, self-propelled, wheeled mobility devices in April of this year. Serial number is 85003939. Maybe it's for some sort of electric V series. Anyway, it's obviously very similar to Chrysler's ENVI.

  • Daanii2 Daanii2 on Aug 14, 2010

    This woman newsreader in the clip needs to find another job. She can barely read. She read earnings per share as 33 cents. That was a LOSS of 33 cents. Other clips I have seen of her are just as bad.

  • GS650G GS650G on Aug 14, 2010

    Christie does a fine job speaking into the camera. Who cares what she actually says....