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Bigger trips + little electric car, = no problem. That's the message Fiat is sending with a new announcement of an agreement to offer gas-powered rentals to range-anxiety-stricken road-trippers.

Last month, Consumer Reports decidedly panned the Mitsubishi i after a test drive of the small electric vehicle. The magazine doesn't dislike everything little and battery powered, though, and was quite a bit kinder to the Fiat 500e, saying it is "actually kind of a cool little car."

At the 2012 LA Auto Show, Fiat brand chief and recently crowned marketing genius, Olivier François, attempted to distance the Fiat 500e from other electric vehicles, asking rhetorically, "Isn't ugliness the worst kind of pollution?" Nissan has apparently taken issue with these comments, feeling slighted for what it considers digs at the Leaf's styling. In a recent interview with Automotive News, Nissan's marketing chief Simon Sproule shot back, "Let's face it, Fiat has not shied away from

In the 1983 Chevy Chase film "National Lampoon's Vacation," sexiness (at least of the female variety) was personified by Christie Brinkley driving a Ferrari 308 that got about 15 miles per gallon. Nearly three decades later, Fiat brand chief Olivier Francois is pitching a kinder, greener sexy.

Somebody wanted it, so we all got it – the Fiat 500e, the electric city car packed with enough Earth-saving tech that CEO Sergio Marchionne quipped (admittedly, early last year) that each one built will cost Fiat $10,000. The good news is that it not only comes with tons of EV-only gadgets and features, it does a good job, to our eye, of flaunting its electric looks and it offers the kinds of personalization one would expect of a hatch in the 500 family.