Fiat may build electric cars at its Sicily plant

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 26, 2010

Fiat S.p.A.'s factory in Termini Imerese, Sicily, could soon have new owners, according to a report by the Financial Times. Cimino & Associates Private Equity is said to be in talks with Reva, a Bangalore, India-based company that builds the G-Wiz. Cimino is currently raising funds for a project to produce electric cars at the plant.

In an interview, Simone Cimino, chairman of the Milan investment house, said that so far, about 50 million euros of funding have been raised from investors including the Sicilian regional government and French bank Natixis. He also revealed that he is in talks with Reva, which introduced its three-door NXR lithium-ion powered electric car at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show.

The G-Wiz hatchback is priced in Europe for about 15,000 euros excluding batteries. It has a top speed of 104kph (65mph) with a range of 160kms (100 miles) per charge.

The president of Reva's European operations, Keith Johnston, asserted that the Sicily proposal would mean that the company can produce a next generation line of cars to succeed the models seen on the streets of Bangalore and London.

Johnston added that taking over and updating a portion of the Termini plant would lead to shortened production times. He also said that having a Fiat-trained workforce would also make it possible to have an electric car that sells for 16,000 euros to 17,000 euros.

He predicts that by 2015, 1-1.5% of new car volume will be purely electric. According to Cimino, a minimum investment of 65 million euros is needed to begin making electric cars at Termini Imerese. Investments could eventually rise to 900 million euros.

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