The Fiat 500e completely captures the distinction between the brand new automotive market in Europe and in America. On the Continent, the diminutive 500e has a variety of 199 miles WLTP from a 37.3 kWh battery and has been a runaway gross sales success. It’s the best measurement for negotiating densely packed European cities with streets that have been initially designed for ox carts. In America, the place 80% of recent automobiles are both SUVs or mild vehicles, the enterprise case for the 500e is far much less compelling.
The unique Fiat 500e went on sale in America again in 2011. Everybody knew it was only a compliance automotive designed to get across the zero emissions guidelines established by CARB in California. It wasn’t an excellent automotive and Sergio Marcchione, the mercurial head of Fiat Chrysler on the time, begged individuals to not purchase one as a result of he mentioned the corporate misplaced $20,000 on each 500e it offered. A number of years in the past, Stellantis withdrew the five hundred, 500L, and 500e from the North American market.
Talking on the Los Angeles auto present this week, Fiat CEO Olivier Francois informed the press the 500e shall be reintroduced to America once more in 2024. In pretty cryptic remarks, he mentioned Stellantis plans to “discover different enterprise fashions,” comparable to subscriptions and automotive sharing. “Possibly you’ll by no means have a value. Possibly it can simply be usership. Possibly there shall be a mixture of each.” He did say, nevertheless, “There shall be a wholesome dose of digital, that’s for positive. All of us collectively have to reinvent the enterprise mannequin.”
In keeping with Automotive and Driver, the most recent iteration of the 500e shall be provided as a coupe and likewise as a delicate prime. It’s anticipated to have an EPA vary of 150 miles from the identical 37.3 kWh battery used within the European automobiles, which promote for €22,000 after incentives.
Talking with Gaby Coppola of Bloomberg Hyperdrive (e-mail) in Los Angeles, Francois mentioned Fiat is bringing the automotive again to the US as a form of guinea pig — an experimental approach to discover new enterprise fashions, use instances, and types of possession. “The true return on funding of this challenge is studying, intel,” he mentioned. “We now have nothing to lose and all the pieces to win.”
Coppola provides that the Fiat 500e would work nicely with Stellantis’ Free2Move, the car-sharing and subscription enterprise it’s been working since 2016. Whereas different automakers have bailed on car-sharing as a money-losing endeavor, Stellantis has been uniquely bullish, claiming it’s cracked the code to working profitably. Automotive sharing works greatest in dense city facilities, which is exactly the place Francois plans to market the brand new 500e.
Individually, Francois informed TechCrunch that re-introducing the 500e to North America is just not about driving gross sales. The truth is, the corporate is “capability constrained” due to robust gross sales in Europe. As an alternative it’s about determining the “way forward for mobility with a automotive that’s designed for town.” Is America prepared for metropolis automobiles? What if you happen to get up in the midst of the evening with an irresistible urge to shoot the curl at La Jolla or tour Alaska? What then, huh? 150 miles of vary ain’t gonna reduce it, is it?
Nonetheless, the common American drives lower than 30 miles a day, which implies for some individuals, a 500e would have sufficient vary for almost every week’s value of driving. Possibly that subscription or automotive sharing mannequin Francois spoke about can be simply the ticket to get these people behind the wheel of an electrical Fiat.
The 500e shall be no stripped out loss chief when it will get to America. It would include a sophisticated driver help system that gives “Stage 2+” options comparable to lane centering and adaptive cruise management, visitors signal recognition, blind spot detection, and 360-degree parking sensors. It would additionally include the Fiat’s UConnect 5 related automotive system and a ten.25-inch touchscreen.
For sure drivers, the brand new Fiat 500e could also be simply what the physician ordered — small, environment friendly, maneuverable, and cheap. It will likely be fascinating to see how Fiat’s new market analysis experiment seems when (and if) the brand new 500e arrives in America in 2024 as deliberate.
Admire CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech information protection? Take into account changing into a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Do not wish to miss a cleantech story? Join every day information updates from CleanTechnica on e-mail. Or comply with us on Google Information!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, wish to promote, or wish to recommend a visitor for our CleanTech Discuss podcast? Contact us right here.