DETROIT -- Battery packs for the Fiat 500EV will be developed at a manufacturing center in suburban Detroit under a contract announced Monday.
South Korea-based SB LiMotive, a joint venture of Samsung SDI Co. Ltd. and Robert Bosch GmbH, announced that it will supply lithium ion battery packs for the Fiat model, scheduled to launch in the U.S. in 2012.
The battery packs will be developed at SB LiMotive's North American Development Center in Orion Township, Mich., and assembled in Springboro, Ohio.
The cells will be manufactured in South Korea.
SB LiMotive replaces Watertown, Mass.-based A123 Systems LLC, with plants in Livonia and Romulus, on the electric Fiat 500. A123 pulled out of the project in August, saying it expected a competitor to provide the batteries for a lower price and that the volumes planned had been significantly diminished.
"Chrysler indicated that SB LiMotive earned this business because we can supply high-quality lithium-ion battery packs in the quantities needed, on-time to the market," Joachim Fetzer, executive vice president of SB LiMotive, said in a statement. "Our established global footprint was a further strong point in our favor."
The Fiat 500EV will be the first electric car in Chrysler Group LLC's lineup and the first electric car in the U.S. for Turin, Italy-based Fiat S.p.A. Chrysler and Fiat formed an alliance last year, under U.S. government pressure, when Chrysler was under bankruptcy.
The vehicle is being developed by Chrysler in Auburn Hills.
SB LiMotive's Orion Township location exists due to the joint venture's acquisition last year of the bankrupt Cobasys LLC -- which was started as a joint venture between Energy Conversion Devices Inc. and Chevron Corp.
Cobasys was developed to supply nickel-metal hydride batteries to General Motors early electric vehicle efforts including the EV1 -- which existed from 1996-1999 and sold about 1,100 units.