Fiat Chrysler intends to test vehicle-to-grid technology with a fleet of 600 to 700 electric cars. The carmaker has now signed a letter of intent with the Italian energy supplier Terna.
The project is due to start in the coming months and will comprise the 600 to 700 electric cars mentioned above by 2021. The electric Fiat 500 is to be used for the start of the project, which reportedly will roll off FCA’s production line in Turin from the second quarter of 2020.
The same plant will also see the construction of V2G infrastructure at said Mirafioni plant in Turin as part of a feasibility study jointly launched by FCA and Italy’s grid operator Terna.
Besides, the partnership will involve the realisation of the E-mobility Lab at Terna’s facility, also in Turin. The facility allows trials on the performances and capacities of electric cars with a view to bi-directional charging and load balancing.
For FCA, this is but the next (slow) step into electrification after senior management recently vowed to electrify Fiat’s best-selling small cars in particular. Fiat CEO Olivier François said at the time “there will be no big cars, no premium cars, no sporty cars because they have no legitimacy,” before he insisted that “we need more electric vehicles”.
In addition to the 500 electric, the new Panda will follow. To keep the entry price low, Fiat intends to rely on a modular battery concept where clients may extend the basic capacity (100-km-range) with add-on modules as desired. The business model may also include battery rental and leasing, much like Renault’s approach.
A recent $35 billion bid from FCA to merge with France’s Renault, a pioneer in electric vehicles, had failed so that FCA must now catch up on its own. In the meantime, Fiat Chrysler is to spend €1.8bn on emission certificates from Tesla this year reportedly.