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Fiat Not Too Optimistic About 500 Electric

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On: Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 12:45PM | By: Chris Weiss


Fiat Not Too Optimistic About 500 Electric

The thought of a Fiat 500 Electric was exciting enough to get third-party manufacturers hacking their own version, but it's apparently not enough to stir any kind of emotion over at Fiat itself. While the tiny 500 might seem like an ideal place to stick a lithium-ion battery pack and small electric motor, Fiat isn't all too optimistic on the 500 Electric's future.

During the same interview in which he mentioned the fate of the Chrysler Town & Country and Jeep Compass, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne mentioned the upcoming electric 500. While you might expect Fiat/Chrysler to be upbeat about its first North American electric vehicle, the tale of the event paints everything but smiles on Marchionne's face. He said that Chrysler is essentially building the electric car only to meet requirements in California and other states and expects to lose money on every model sold.

True or not, Marchionne's admission isn't exactly the type of description you'd expect from a company working toward launching a new technology. Even if it's a failure at the dealerships, the electric 500 should enjoy some of the buzz and good publicity that every EV enjoys upon launch - unless, of course, that story keeps reading 'Fiat never really wanted to build it in the first place'.

Starting this year, California requires the largest automakers to sell certain quotas of zero-emissions vehicles. Automakers that don't meet the required numbers can buy credits from automakers that exceed them (e.g. automakers that actually build electric vehicles). The law works to the advantage of automakers like Nissan and Tesla that sell electric vehicles, but is presumably a hindrance to automakers like Chrysler, which doesn't have an EV or plug-in hybrid to its name.

Chrysler will introduce the Fiat 500 electric in North America later this year and expects to stay in compliance with California law. While expectations are pretty low in terms of revenue, Fiat does expect to use the new model as a technological guinea pig to help familiarize it with electric powertrains.

So, if you're thinking of buying an electric Chrysler, you might want to wait until generation 2 when it actually has an EV it's excited about selling. Or consider an overpriced, underperforming aftermarket tune.




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RoadKill | 3:35PM (Fri, Jun 1, 2012)

Good, we do not need another car that gives you range anxiety....Wake up! Go Hydrogen!



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