April 16, 2013 – Vol.18 No.5
RANGE ANXIETY CURE AND LOW LEASE ADD TO FIAT 500E APPEAL.
For a car that's to be sold (initially) in only one state, albeit large, California, FIAT is certainly pulling out all the stops to sell the 500E. (Come on FIAT, sell it nationwide.)
You might call 500e the Reluctant EV. It's not really being built by choice. If Chrysler wants to sell cars in the Golden State, some electric vehicles have to be sold there under the state's EV mandate, even if they are branded FIAT (the owner of Chrysler.)
Lucky Californians get to opt for the same lease deal as the gas Pop: $199 a month for 3 years with $999 down. Or they can pay as little as $20,500, after federal credits, state incentives and FIAT rebates are included.
And, for those who want to deal with an EV as their only car (on most days) included in the price is 12 days per year of alternative mid-sized rental car when a trip longer than the 500e's 87-mile range is foreseen. The 500 is tiny of course. Need more space, like a minivan or a truck? A few of the credits that go toward the free rental can be used for a day with the bigger vehicle. (Or just pay for the upgrade.)
The plan, known as the Fiat 500e Pass program, is available for purchasers for the first 36 months of ownership or the length of the lease. The Pass program is through Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car, and National Car Rental. Brands, that operate under the Enterprise Holdings hat.
The 500e will be sold through all FIAT Studios, but distributed through only 2 well-stocked California distribution centers. Order your 500e from the nearest Studio and FIAT will ship the car over in as little as a few hours depending on where you are.
(This seems like a plan FIAT could use throughout the United States eliminating the need for all FIAT Studios to stock the e.)
Charging stations, four of them, will be at all California FIAT Studios. Stop by, grab a Cappuccino and a charge!
Let FIAT explain more about the 500e deal.
Though the basket of goodies to help sell the 500e are impressive and welcome, there's more FIAT could do:
--- Work out a leasing program with a solar installation partner for grid-tied, car charging solar systems.
--- Offer a gizmo that will allow the 500e to be a back-up/emergency power supply. The battery pack capacity in any electric vehicle is huge compared with the basic electric needs of a home (say lights and refrigeration).
--- Offer a back seat delete option. How often is a car used for more than 2 people anyway? Not often. The back seat in the 500 is almost useless. Get rid of it. Already there's an aftermarket kit to replace the back seat in the gas 500 with a flat storage panel. (If this fits the 500e is unknown.) So FIAT, why not offer the 500 with a back seat delete option? More storage space. Better view out the back window. And save 47 pounds!
--- Rate the "e" for trailer towing. A hitch receiver kit is already available as a stock part for the 500, but it's marketed for use only with the receiver-mounted bike rack. The torquey little electric car could easily tow a small trailer, for say kayaks.
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