Chrysler will debut a battery-powered version of the Fiat 500 at next month's Detroit auto show according to company insiders.

It is not known whether the car will be put into production, but it will be shown alongside a Chrysler model based on the Lancia Delta hatchback according to reports from the US.

Fiat chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne said last month that the company plans to produce about 56,000 electric vehicles annually by 2014, and Chrysler may base its initial model on the Fiat Doblo van.

However, an electric Fiat 500 would give Chrysler a competitor to BMW's Mini-E. The German carmaker began leasing a limited run of this plug-in EV this year.

Fiat now owns 20% of Chrysler which went into, and emerged from, Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year.

Chrysler, under a new five-year business plan, abandoned a plan set under previous owner Cerberus Capital Management LP, to create a full lineup of electric vehicles, starting from the end of 2010.

The Fiat 500 is due on sale in the US late next year and will be built in Mexico at a plant capable of producing more than 100,000 cars. About half the volume would be exported to South America, Marchionne said last week.