The Irony of the Fiat 500e

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FIATlogo

The first Fiat 500 Elettra concept car was unveiled back in 2010 during the North American International Auto Show. Its maker Chrysler, announced that it would build these compact electric vehicles for the United States and would be formally known as the 500e. It is to the carmaker, a vehicle it did not want to build in the first place.

The very first Fiat 500e was offered to the public last November 2012 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, with the first deliveries already made in the first few months of 2013. The motor of the Fiat 500e is a 111 horsepower or 83 kW rated permanent magnet three phase electric motor with a synchronous drivetrain with an ability to produce 147 lb-ft of torque. The power comes from a 24 kWh rated lithium ion battery pack that has its own internal liquid cooling/heating system. With this, the range is at eighty miles or 130 kilometers, with city driving range up to a hundred miles. Full charge can be achieved in less than four hours using the electric vehicle’s 240 volt on board charging module.

The Environmental Protection Agency has rated the vehicle at 87 miles or 140 kilometers and has a combined fuel economy of 116 miles per gallon for city driving, while on the highway fuel economy is rated at 108 miles per gallon.

According to Consumer Reports, the Fiat 500e is one compact but powerful vehicle that is easy to drive. Its reviewers had praised it by saying “It was clear that Chrysler engineers didn’t just phone this one in. They actually sweated the details and came up with an EV that’s fun and appealing.”

The designers had termed the design inspiration as ‘retro-futuristic’ and this was translated into all aspects of the vehicle. For the exterior, the basic Fiat 500 was modified to have a more aerodynamic bumper shields for both the front and the rear. Also modified were the side sill and the door mirrors with a liftgate spoiler to help in directing airflow for the three door hatchback.  For the interiors, the 500e has a seven inch thin film transistor display that provides information on charge/power, driving range, and other useful information found in its Electronic Vehicle Information Center. This new system utilizes pictographs in order to illustrate vehicular functions. All this information is accessible from your smartphone through an app.

For a car that a car giant didn’t want to make, the details make the Fiat 500e worth a second look.

Honda Offers All-Electric Fit EV to Market

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HONDAlogo

Honda has begun delivery of its all-electric Fit EV to its first clients, namely Google, Stanford University and Torrance Ca City Government. These are the first Fit EVs available to the public, which is well in advance of public sale for the units.

These first units would be part of a demonstration program aimed to provide feedback and research in the use of the Fit EV that can be used by the Japanese automaker for future developments in electric cars.

Torrance California was chosen as part of the demonstration program as it is the base of operations for Honda USA. The electric vehicles would be passed around city departments, such as parks and recreation, water and others to determine whether a city with an all-electric city fleet would be feasible. Another aspect of the program would be educating the general public and increase awareness about electric vehicles together with an evaluation as to the possibility of having a complete infrastructure for electric car charging within the city.

For Google, the Fit EV would form part of the G-fleet, the company’s car-sharing program that uses alternative fuel vehicles. The data and information gathered regarding multiple drivers on the Fit EV as to their feedback on the vehicle would then be forwarded to the carmaker.

Stanford on the other hand would use the car for behavioral research. The Center for Automotive Research in Stanford would outfit the Fit EVs with electrodes to measure human reactions as to the adoption of new technology with the car’s noises and alerts, such as low power warnings for the Fit EV while there would still be standard Fit cars to be part of the research.

The availability of the vehicle would expand to the East Cost by the spring of 2013. There are no sales but only leases available, with a term of three years costing nearly $400 per month. The lessees would need to go through a vetting process whether the applicant’s lifestyle would be fit for an electric vehicle. Factors under consideration would be the distance traveled commuting and if a charger would be installed at the owner’s home.

The Fit EV uses the design of the internal combustion engine Fit hatchback. The car debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November 2011. The car is powered with a 92 kilowatt electric motor using a 20 kilowatt per hour lithium ion battery. The car’s driving range, combined city and highway driving, is 76 miles on a single full charge.