CEO's are like politicians, if their lips are moving, they are spinning the truth. I will not go so far as to say that he is lieing, but even this short article reveals that the Fiat 500e is only going to be sold in CA. So if it is not a "compliance vehicle" why not expand the market as large as possible. Has anyone noticed that Suzuki cars is dead? Why? They had few dealerships and no market penetration. If these guys are serious about the future of electric vehicles, market them nationwide! We are always hearing about economy of scale. Then scale it up!
Maybe the CEO is right, they cannot make a profit on them so now they simply make enough to remain compliant. Then they turn around and market their real profit vehicles, trucks and luxury vehicles! But hey the Viper is coming back!!! Rich people in CA want to buy that, so then Chrysler needs to be compliant to sell in CA.
GT, oho, they are introducing the vehicle only to CA market. Any idea, when they are planning to introduce to other US markets. I think, they are introducing only a limited edition to CA for a market review or to collect user feedbacks.
GT, I think you've pegged it. At least for now, the 500e appears to be a compliance car. It is also most likely a learning excercise. A necessary, but unprofitable step on the road to the future. I doubt they expect to sell more than a handful of cars. Perhaps a totally new EV design is in the works at Fiat.
Nobody seems to get the point that if this is "a learning exercise" for Chrysler engineers, then how many potential customers will pay good money to become a guinea pig or lab rat? I vividly remember the "second generation" Fiat 500 Nuovo from the late '50s. A truly wretched tiny car (actually an enclosed motorcycle, 2-seater with 1.5 HP 2-cylinder air-cooled engine complete with a cable clutch). Topped out at 59mph with a strong tailwind and a 100 lb. driver!
Quite a few people decided to be guineapigs for the EV1. Not enough for GM to turn a profit from them, but more than enough for a learning exercise. I'm not sure why you're comparing the current Fiat 500 to the one from the '50s. It's like comparing the current Beetle to the original Type 1 with the 1100cc engine. They are very different cars. The fist generation Prius was tiny and slow compared to the later more successful cars. If I were to judge the current Prius by the original, I would say they aren't worth driving.
I wasn't comparing the actual cars! Just pointing out the fact that (as another poster said just before you) Fiat doesn't exactly have an illustrious history in North America. I've owned a lot of quirky cars (including TWO different Renaults in the '50s/'60s time frame, a Dauphine and an R10)) but never a Fiat after my experience with that 500 my buddy had. Don't forget, some of the worst cars of the Soviet era were licensed versions of Fiats (Lada, Trabant, etc.). The whole point of most of this discussion is whether Fiat intended this car to just satisfy the CA bureaucrats that it fulfills the zero-emission mandate, or if they really expect to sell a bunch. MY point is that if they intended the latter, they are out of touch with the marketplace, just like GM and the Volt. Even if you just buy/license technology from your competition, it takes a huge investment to bring one of these to fruition. As a niche vehicle instead of a mass-market one, it just doesn't make sense.
Cap'n, as far as electric vehicles (and to some extent hybrids) go, it is important to have a design that is appropriate for the technology. The first successful hybrid, the Prius, was a totally new design. I recently saw an original one, by the way. It is TINY! The car was going 55 in the right lane on an Interstate with a 65 MPH speed limit. There was a long line behind it. It looked so antiquated.
The 500 is an old model designation for Fiat. I have an Italian engineer friend who had one in Milan when he was young. When the 500 first came out in the US I asked him if he was going to get one. His response was along the lines of are you kidding?
It is interesting as far as the 500e goes that they worked on the aerodynamics, but not the weight. A curb weight of 2,980 lbs is not light. It must be due to the battery. On the other hand, why are more composites not used in the body? That would also extend the range.
The battery is 24-kWh and is made up of 97 lithium-ion cells, naperlou, so, yes, it's big. It does use some composite materials, according to the press materials, but it's not clear yet where the composites will be used.
The constant stress I have to keep my phone charges, will soon apply to my car. I have to say, I am not looking forward to that. I'm hoping that wireless power transfer options will be prevalent when EVs are affordable to most people. (IE: see Witricity)
Also, 80 mile range is great for a zip-car style rental service, but I shy away from that for a regular car. I'd say at least 150 is target. Anyone here have an EV?
Cabe, you've raised a point that is seldom brought up. Right now, the owners of EVs tend to be early adopters who seem to have no issues with re-charging their cars. But will all consumers have the necessary patience to deal with the required recharging times?
Charles... this ease/safety of charging is always at the top of my list as to why the average American driver will not be going big in the near future on anything that requires a plug-in to be cost and fuel efficient.
This is the infrastructure that will take longest and be the most expensive to put in place too by my accounting.
Current PEV charging technology is not going to lead to the same quick pull into Wawa for coffee and be fully charged by the time I get to the cashier as is the case with petroleum, but it does need to become convenient... and at least a little forgiving of those 'I forgot to fill up/charge' moments (what ever that means, the tow truck gas can replaced by a small rental battery pack I guess).
Charles, finally Fiat also joints with the EV sector by introducing Fiat 500e. Any test drive result data sheet is available for reference. What about the market opinion and how fiat is distinguishing their product from other competitors.
The value and success will depend on the price. If it was priced commensurate with a no-frills economy car, then it might have a chance. As a $40K or whatever showroom ornament and enviro-weenie status symbol, it's DOA.
If it's like any other BEV out there today, the CEO is only half lying. It's a compliance car *and* it will never turn a profit.
First, I'm not buying your comments and the contrarian view today would be one arguing in favor of electric given the environmental ignorance being perpetrated on the public by big financial interests. Even if you deny climate change effects, when you flush your toilet the waste doesn't go into the river. It's processed. The same should be true with regard to what we do with the air. It's part of the commons and unless you manufacture your own, conserving the quality is a TRUE conservative position!
Second, the bottom line is one of matching the application coupled with high volume production. You match the car to your need and high volume production will reduce the price. It's simple and has been demonstrated ad nauseum!
If the Chrysler chief's statement "It's an electric vehicle that doesn't act like an electric appliance" is true, how come the controls look like those of a blender?
"retro-futuristic design"? Does a picture of George Jetson come standard, or is that an option? Holy cow.
My son just came from the LA auto show yesterday with camera pics of cars like a stunning new Lexus electric and the sexy BMW i8 hybrid. And Chrysler introduces this? I'm underwhelmed. I've seen cuter zits on a hog. The Fiat 500 itself looks like someone did a poor job of photoshopping the BMW Mini. Then they brag about time in a wind tunnel... What direction did the wind blow, I wonder?
Unless the car's price tag is going to be somewhere around free, I'll pass. We've already got an electric skateboard.
Here is what the Detroit Press posted this morning for November Gains:
Chrysler ^ 14.4% // 10.7%
Ford ^ 6.4% // 15.5%
GM Co. ^ 3.4% // 16.3%
Remember when it was 50%, 25%, 13% ? It was that way for years.
Chrysler will exceed their prior place because of great product.
Did you watch the Superbowl?
Oliver Fracois pulled it off 2 times in a row. Need an imported car to show your "sophistication"? Think Detroit.
Sergio and his team know Precisely what they are doing and it is interesting and delightful.
The Fiat is genetically Italian and you'd be surprised about the beautiful, sophisticatd women who love them and their kikkyness. And if you have seen an original 500, these are giants. My neighbor has 2, red and yellow.
I knew a guy who collected Ford Edsel wrecks. I used to be fond of Corvairs. What does that tell you about "taste"? Beautiful sophisticated women may not have a problem with cars that rust out in 2-3 years, like my old Fiat Spring (something like an 850cc motor as I recall) that looked cute, rather like a mini-MG, but couldn't get up a steep hill from a dead stop, and at 3 years old had a rusted-out floorboard. But I don't let supermodels pick out my cars- they don't have to fix them. History will, as always, judge, but Fiat does not seem to have an especially good track record in this country.
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