Fiat is joining utility companies Cemig and Itaipu to develop new electric vehicles for Brazil, with an initial batch of 30 electric Palio cars scheduled to start testing later this year. The utility companies have been developing electric cars for the past five years, but they were in need of financial backing to expand their limited production.

One of the engineers involved in the project, Virgilio Medeiros, has told Wards Auto that the project is being run to show that plug-in electric cars can be viable for emerging markets as well as established Western markets.

The cars won’t be cheap, estimated to cost upwards of $36,000. However, Medeiros expects prices to come down as production increases in scale over coming years. Medeiros also hinted that the project is a precursor for the eventual rollout of electric cars from Fiat in more established markets.