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Fiat Chrysler in talks to buy electric powertrains from startup companies

FCA has reportedly spoken with two startups: Faraday Future and Seres.

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Could an FCA EV have an outsourced powertrain? Perhaps.

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Fiat Chrysler hasn't totally jumped aboard the electric bandwagon, though its beginning to invest in light electrification up and down its core brands. Mild hybrids have cropped up and more plug-in hybrids are on the way.

As for fully electric powertrains, it looks like FCA is looking outside of its own halls for the technology. According to a report from The Verge on Monday, the US automaker had discussions with at least two electric car startup companies. Faraday Future is the better-known company, while the second company is known as Seres.

FCA didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

The website cites two sources who've been close to the conversations and these people said the talks are in varying stages and began this past April. They've been rather serious, though. Faraday Future has supposedly outfitted at least one of FCA's vehicles with its own electric powertrain. The Seres connection is more recent, according to an email the website viewed from the company's CEO.

In the document, CEO James Taylor told other employees the company has work to do if it wants to potential receive such a contract. Either company would certainly receive a boost as both have continued to struggle in recent years.

Faraday Future's story has been a dramatic one with some ups and plenty of downs. Notably, the startup faced the brink of bankruptcy as it burned through investment cash at an alarming rate. Eventually, after numerous legal battles, it won the right to seek new investment outside of its main investor, a Chinese health conglomerate. Faraday still hopes to put its first production model, the FF91, into production next year after purchasing a turn-key facility and abandoning plans for a new production plant.

Seres rebooted itself after a short stint as SF Motors, a US offshoot of China's Sokon. It's been a bumpy ride there, too, with layoffs and reorganization within the startup. It wants to launch its first electric vehicle, the SF5, in the near future.

Both have a long road to production because, well, building and mass producing cars is a tough business; it's precisely why any contract to outsource electric powertrains would provide a massive revenue stream. However, a pending merger deal with France's PSA Group could change things, if FCA gains access to the automaker's EV tech.

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