Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says it is ramping up its electric-vehicle potential with plans to build its own battery assembly plant in Italy.
Its €50 million ($55 million) “Battery Hub” will be created in Turin’s Mirafiori complex and work will begin in early 2020. The announcement follows the automaker’s various agreements signed with partners in the field of electrification in recent months.
The plant will be created with the potential to be expanded for future projects. Robotics will be used in production combining, where necessary, with human operators in what is hoped to achieve modular and flexible processes.
The hub, created in partnership with Italian automation specialist Comau, will have space for training courses as well as prototyping and experimentation during the pilot process. It also will have a center dedicated to quality control and testing of components provided by suppliers and, post-assembly, electronically controlled systems will be used to test battery efficiency.
The announcement follows FCA’s commitment to build an electric-powered Fiat 500 at the Mirafiori plant starting in second-quarter 2020. About 1,200 people will work at the plant, with initial production expectations of 80,000 units per year.
On top of this, the new GranTurismo and GranCabrio would be the first Maserati models to run 100% on electricity and both would be manufactured at the Turin production hub.
Pietro Gorlier, chief operating officer for FCA’s EMEA region, says: “The automotive industry is undergoing a period of profound change, and one of the major trends is closely linked to electrification. With its new car-battery-assembly center at Mirafiori, FCA accelerates its drive to electrify, adding now another element to the ‘ecosystem’ that starts from supply chain and ends with customer support.”
About 20,000 staff are employed at the Turin complex, which includes both the Mirafiori and Grugliasco sites, in production and connected activities such as engineering and design, sales, financial services and spare parts. It is the largest FCA complex globally.
The automaker said it will invest more than €5 billion ($5.6 billion) in Italy from 2019-2021 to renew its product range, including the introduction of 12 electric versions of new or existing models.