Fiat 500 EV scheduled for Los Angeles auto show debut

2012 fiat 500c review roadFiat is aping Mini and working to come up with as many 500 variants as possible, including one powered by batteries. Fiat has chosen the Los Angeles auto show to unveil its 500 EV, which may go by the name 500E.

Other than a 75-kilowatt electric motor mounted where a gasoline engine usually resides, the 500E will probably be almost identical to the regular 500. This will save Fiat money, and give EV customers a zero emission experience that is otherwise consistent with the petrol-powered car.

This approach also puts the 500E in good company. The Mini E and Scion iQ EV, are also regular city cars that have undergone motor swaps. The Mini and the Scion are not intended for mass consumption, though. The Mini was part of a BMW test program, and the Scion’s 90-unit production run is being limited to fleet buyers.

Full judgment will be reserved until the 500E’s official debut in L.A., but it would not be surprising if the Fiat also turned out to be a low-volume model. Rumor has it that Fiat only built the 500E to comply with new California laws. Consequently, 500E sales will probably be limited to California and other states where Fiat (or corporate spouse Chrysler) needs to lower average emissions of its product portfolio.

For the 500E to be a serious option, it would at least need to beat the iQ EV’s 77 mph top speed and 52-mile range. The Mini E was capable of 95 miles and roughly 100 miles of driving per charge, but it is not available outside of BMW’s test program.

All of these pint-sized prototype EVs make the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, with its 62-mile range and four doors, almost seems sensible.

If Fiat could give the 500E performance equivalent to a gasoline-powered 500, and a reasonable range, it might have a car that people would consider buying. Or, the Italian giant could go the way of its rivals and build an outsize science fair project.

Fiat’s plans for the 500E, and full technical specifications, will be released when the EV debuts in November at the Los Angeles auto show.

Product Review

The Nissan Rogue is smart, handsome, and practical. What’s not to love?

Year after year, Nissan’s Rogue compact crossover is a consistent best-seller, outpacing Honda’s CR-V, and even Toyota’s mighty RAV4. We looked for the reasons why people love the 2019 Nissan Rogue, and found them.
Cars

Tesla gives us a cryptic look at its cyberpunk, Blade Runner-inspired pickup

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself. It could make its debut in 2019.
Cars

Fisker plans sub-$40,000 electric SUV with 300 miles of range for 2021

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.
Cars

Can electric cars be S3XY? Tesla says yes with the new Model Y crossover

Tesla introduced a crossover named Model Y at its design studio in Los Angeles. It's a more spacious alternative to the Model 3 it shares 75 percent of its parts with, and is a smaller sibling to the Model X.
Cars

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to recall 860K U.S. vehicles over emissions issues

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will recall 862,520 cars in the United States because they don't meet emissions standards, the EPA has announced. The affected vehicles span model years 2011 to 2016.
Cars

James Bond may ditch his V12 Aston Martin for electric power, report says

James Bond may take the wheel of an electric car in the next 007 movie, reports British newspaper The Sun. The car in question would be the Aston Martin Rapide E, the British automaker's first all-electric model.
Cars

Automakers are spending billions on self-driving technology people are afraid of

Automakers are spending billions of dollars on developing the technology that will power self-driving cars, but research shows consumers have no interest in giving up control. Will they ever recoup their investment?
Cars

Karma Automotive continues clawing back from the brink with three new cars

Karma Automotive will bring three new cars to the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show, including a long overdue redesigned version of its Revero plug-in hybrid and an all-electric concept car.
Cars

Nuro’s awesome robot delivery pods are tootling into Texas

Robo-delivery startup Nuro is taking its cool-looking autonomous delivery pods to Texas. The pods will deliver Kroger groceries to customers' doors in Houston following a successful pilot program in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Cars

Sibling rivalry: The Tesla Model Y takes on the Tesla Model 3

Tesla expanded its lineup with a fourth car named Model Y. It's an electric crossover positioned as a more spacious alternative to the Model 3. The two cars share about 75 percent of their components, but they're aimed at different buyers.
Cars

Adventurous and electric, Porsche’s second station wagon will arrive in 2020

The Mission E Cross Turismo concept Porsche unveiled during the 2018 Geneva Auto Show will morph into a production model tentatively named Taycan Cross Turismo. This 600-horsepower electric station wagon will arrive in showrooms by 2021.
Cars

Mustang-like and electrified. What did Ford just show a preview of?

Ford posted an enigmatic picture of a blue Mustang emblem on a black background right as Tesla prepared to introduce the Model Y. Is the Blue Oval teasing a hybrid Mustang, or is it previewing a Mustang-inspired, battery-powered crossover?
Cars

Amazon and Kia team up to simplify EV home-charging station installs

Kia Motors announced a new program with Amazon for electric vehicles. Customers planning to purchase a new Kia EV or PHEV can check out recommended Level 2 240-volt home charging stations and arrange installation in their homes.
Cars

Unrestrained by heritage, Polestar sets its sights on becoming a digital brand

With no heritage to worry about, Polestar is free to move full-speed ahead towards its goal of becoming a digital brand. All of the company's upcoming models will be electric, and they will inaugurate an Android-powered infotainment system.