It's bad enough incurring losses in dollars. There's no need to do it in francs, lire and pounds as well.

That's the thought process behind Italian automaker Fiat and its decision to hold off on selling a battery-electric version of its 500 compact in Europe. Fiat global brand chief Olivier Francois confirmed that the company won't distribute the 500e across the pond, according to Automotive News.

As it is, Fiat has said it will lose as much as $10,000 per vehicle sold, even with a sticker price of about $35,000. Nonetheless, the 500e will be sold in California starting in mid-2013 as a so-called "compliance vehicle" designed to meet certain zero-emissions mandates enacted by certain U.S. states.

Fiat is showing off the 500e at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, and finally released details on the car yesterday, including that typical city driving will give drivers "greater than 100 miles" of range. The original concept version debuted at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.

Fiat and its Chrysler affiliate have been relatively slow on the draw when it comes to developing electric-drive vehicles, choosing instead to focus on lighter, more technologically advanced internal combustion engines to meet upcoming, more stringent fuel-economy targets.


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  • 17 Comments
      Mike Pulsifer
      • 2 Years Ago
      Francs, Lira, and Pounds? Try Euros and Pounds.
        SVX pearlie
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Mike Pulsifer
        More like Deutschmarks & Pounds, when you get to the root of things.
        Ziv
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Mike Pulsifer
        I think the Euro is basically a double Deutschmark. They set the value at right about twice what a D-mark used to be so it would be more 'valuable' than a dollar. And it has cycled up and down around 67 cents * 2 for years.
      Dave Kruger
      • 2 Years Ago
      A shame, but understandable. Also, I'd just like to point out that Fiat's financial record over the past 13 years has been nothing short of stellar: They haven't lost a single Lira or Franc (or Mark, Drachma, Peseta, Guilder or Schilling for that matter) since 1999! Admittedly though, things aren't looking so hot in Pounds.
        SVX pearlie
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Dave Kruger
        Chrysler needs CARB credits one way or another. Tho it's a little surprising that their 500e has a cost point of $45k and a MSRP of $35k when the Spark will be sold with a MSRP of $32k, and presumably not lose money.
      karlInSanDiego
      • 3 Months Ago
      If I go and poach 50 engineers from EV/automotive industry and task them for one year to build my first EV, the first unit comes at a design cost of $5M on engineering labor alone if I only sell one (broadbrushing). If I forecast 10 sales, it's down to $500k, and so on. The majors who reluctantly build compliance vehicles want to cry bullshIt because they're being forced to do this so they want lawmakers and the public to feel their hurt. But a funny thing will happen when EVs take off in 4 or 10 years. Fiat will look back as Nissan, GM, Honda, and Ford undoubtedly will, and say, "It's a good thing we started learning how to build them when California made us do it" Fiat 500e is an aerodynamic brick, but each manufacturer will do better with successive cars.
      • 3 Months Ago
      why don't you ask people that had the EV1 and had to, despite their willing, return the car. People want EVs and 100 miles or so is not at tall short range. I drove many EVs and the problem is that automakers do not want to do the entrepreneurs because doing that means invest and sell cars to payback the investments. They want governments finance them, as unfortunately they do, and on top of that want customers pay upfront for the investments as well. That is not how entrepreneurship works. Once automakers will see that more and more people is fed up with combustion cars so they will get the lesson and maybe they will start to really sell EV and not toys for reach and actors.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I really like this little Fiat ! It's cute and nostalgic, while remaining attractive and modern. But all this abuse toward Fiat and Chrysler is incomprehensible. Auto-manufacture is a business, not a moral crusade ! If Fiat don't want to lose money selling EV's, that's between them and their shareholders. So far no-one has made money from producing EV's. ABG, is full of comments demanding manufacturers to produce EV's. Well, Mitsubishi produced the car everyone said the public was waiting for, ..but the 'public' didn't buy ! No EV except the very expensive Tesla has met with any real sales success. Leaf, Renault etc have all recorded disappointing sales figures. Meanwhile GM's Volt concept looks better and better. The problem is not the cars, it's the lack of range and convenience, from the ESD. Asking manufacturers to mass produce vehicles which no one buy's, would not only be financial suicide, but very bad for future EV acceptance.
      SVX pearlie
      • 3 Months Ago
      GM charges roughly $10-15k over the price of a Chevy Spark to make it an EV. That's the same sort of electrification that Fiat is doing with the 500e. If the base 500 starts at $16k, then a $26k to $31k MSRP would be in line with industry norms. Having a cost of $45k (for an uplift of roughly $30k) suggests that Fiat is only 1/3 to 1/2 as efficient as GM, Ford, etc.
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Again the money pit with bevs, nobody is making money with bev commercialisation. They only do some bevs when they got subsidies from taxpayers. So we endup paying high fuel cost and also more tax for patents own by big oil. What fast recharging standard will this fiat have. Will it be compatible with chademo that are actually installed at some location or maybe the supercharger norm that also have some installed at some location. If they go for sae, will there be some sae chargers in california and where and when. I decided to postpone any bev expenditure, probably many customers will do the same.
        brotherkenny4
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        But still way cheaper than fuel cell cars. Besides, Fiat is misrepresenting the real costs and not discussing what the cost might be if they didn't hand build them and if they distributed their development cost over a reasonable number of units. But hey, you oil heads keep screaming about fuel cells and high priced batteries. Every time you do, it gives us another chance to debunk the cost misrepresentation in the EV industry. Oh yes, what ever happened to the exploding batteries? With literally billions of li ion batteries in the market place I am sure the consumers would like to know that they are walking around with a ticking time bomb in their pocket. Say, isn't also it true that we will be trading one dependency (oil) for another (lithium). And my all time favorite myth, Li ion are so expensive because they use rare earth metals. Oh my, I feel a bad case of range anxiety coming on. I think I need to lay down and take another brainwash pill.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        That's right gorr . . . and I'm sure he'll be releasing one of those cheap profitable fuel cell cars for you real soon. LOL.
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is strange how Mr Marchionne is so good at cash money in many, many European Union financed projects on e-mobility and than to keep stating (as indeed many other car manufacturers ceos) that there is no future for EV. No other options are left that not to stop buy cars. If they are so dull to not understand where the world is going to, than let them die. As they are already killing the poor workers. There could be a bright future for all them (workers) is they (obtuse car manufacturers) take the head out the sand and start to understand what is around the corner. What has to happen to explain them that there is no future for combustion engine? If people is, over and over, asking for electric cars why are they telling us what we want? For me they can go down today. I will not buy a car that is not EV or PHEV, and possible to a reasonable price .... considering all the public money they are ******* since years. Shame on you!
        SVX pearlie
        • 3 Months Ago
        We oughta lock Marchionne and Ghosn in an iron cage match. In the one corner, Marchi is in complete denial about EVs, while the other corner has Ghosn betting the farm.
        Marcopolo
        • 3 Months Ago
        @ better communication " If people is, over and over, asking for electric cars why are they telling us what we want?", Evidently, as Toyota and GM have proven, people don't want short range EV's.
      Ugo Sugo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dude, Again! francs and liras have not been in use for the past twelve years! It looks like you need to do some more homework
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Chrysler/Fiat are the biggest jerks when it comes to EVs. That is going to come back to haunt them when they desperate try to play catch up in the coming years.
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