Only a few months ago who would have thought the term "sold out" would have been connected in any, way shape or form with the electric vehicle industry? However today, Fiat has confirmed that California has run dry of the Fiat 500e EV and the company is looking to address this issue as soon as possible. This has created something of an increase in demand for this particular vehicle and indeed created a number of positive headlines in relation to the electric vehicle industry.
Interestingly, Fiat has not been forthcoming with regards to sales figures for the Fiat 500e EV but whatever figures, there is interest in this vehicle.
The MPGe rating for the Fiat 500e EV is 116 which is up there with the best of them and has certainly put Fiat on the map. Interestingly, the fact that demand has outstripped supply to date will likely see Fiat make this particular vehicle available outside of California, which seems to be the testbed for electric vehicle sales.
At this moment in time the vehicle is available for leasing at just $199 per month, which is giving many consumers the chance to experience electric vehicle travel without the large initial outlay. When you take into account the fact that California currently accounts for around 20% of all U.S. car sales, whether electric, diesel, gasoline, etc, it is certainly a feather in the cap of Fiat.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "In what many will see as a rather bizarre marketing ploy, BMW and Fiat are offering free car rental days to selected EV customers. The Fiat offer sees those purchasing a Fiat 500e gaining access to 12 days of car rental from Enterprise Rental per year as a means of offsetting concerns about journey capacity."
Is this a genuine supply issue?
Just a few weeks ago we saw Honda apologising for a lack of Honda Fit EVs, amid signs that demand was again far outstripping supply. These are the only two recent examples of increased demand and supply issues but we are certainly starting to see a very positive trend in the EV market. It seems inconceivable that EV manufacturers would deliberately under stock particular vehicles to grab the headlines, but then again, this is the EV market, one of the most unpredictable markets in the world!
Joking aside, there is no way that EV manufacturers, who've been waiting years to break into the mass market, would let a chance to sell even more EVs pass them by. There seems to be genuine demand for electric vehicles and while California is perhaps a special situation, legally obliging car manufacturers to sell electric vehicles, this is starting to spread across other states.
Time will tell
As we have mentioned on numerous occasions, the general feelgood factor which has been divorced from the EV sector for many years now, seems to be reappearing. Even though a large number of sceptics are still attacking the industry, the technology, and the short-term potential for increased sales, there does seem to be positive movement across the board.
If, as promised, Tesla is able to deliver an affordable electric vehicle in the short to medium term this could have a monumental impact upon the industry itself. This is a company which moves markets, pushes the technology envelope back and is not afraid to go against the grain. There are still many questions to be answered and while other sector is unlikely to break into the mass market tomorrow, is it really too far away?