FiatChrysler’s Electric Car Gamble First Drive Yahoo Finance

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Chrysler Electric Cars

Fiat-Chrysler’s Electric Car Gamble: Drive

NEW YORK (TheStreet ) In 2013, sales of plug-in in the U.S. are estimated to total

That’s only 0.78% of the 16 cars and light trucks will be sold in the U.S. year. But the percentage of plug-in is not evenly distributed across the

The largest share of plug-in is sold in California, and inside the highest density is in Silicon — the area from San to San Jose. That’s where . Apple . Facebook . Intel . HP . . Oracle . Tesla . and other major technology are based.

Anyone visiting the lots of these companies and the centers of the towns surrounding will come to the conclusion almost half of new cars in segments sold this have been plug-in cars. In those neighborhoods, I there are close to 15,000 cars on the road, a large of 2013 new car sales — higher than the 0.78% average.

Also see: 300 in Ford’s Focus EV Electric Car

The same thing happened iPhone adoption in 2007. the iPhone went on sale on 29, 2007, adoption was not uniform the country or even inside In the first weeks, it was already a big in Silicon Valley, whereas the of the country and the world caught up in the few years.

If the explosive growth in electric car sales continues at the rates it grew in 2011, and likely 2013, there be millions of electric vehicles on roads within a decade.

probably doesn’t want to this opportunity by being as a luddite company in Silicon Although Fiat-Chrysler may be using CPUs and GPUs for design-engineering and in future years, that’s not enough.

It is against this that Fiat-Chrysler is making its bet on the electric car market in California. even going so far as to establish an car distribution center in the San Francisco Bay which will be deliver all (colors, trims and options) to dealers within 24-48 In addition, it establishing a second distribution center in the Los Angeles where some electric are also sold.

I just spent a little than an hour driving the 500e about 40 miles. I rode in the car as a passenger for an additional

This is an electric version of the new 500 Fiat rolled out in North in 2011. Like its gasoline-powered the 500e’s visual design homage to the tiny original that were ubiquitous on streets in the ’60s and ’70s.

The will be in Fiat dealerships in starting around the middle of The price will be $32,500 tax adjustments similar to those for other electric cars.

this means is that Californians will pay $22,500 before regular sales In addition, Fiat is offering leases with $999 for $199 or $166 a month. leases also include 12 rental car days, so you can get a gasoline car for trips or when you need a van/truck.

Also see: Congestion a Problem for Electric

The Fiat 500e is a straightforward car, making it drive to EVs such as the Nissan LEAF, Focus and Chevrolet Volt. The drivetrain ensures that cars have far far more in than not.

In Fiat’s case, the battery are made by Samsung . and Bosch most of the drivetrain modules, the whole battery pack and the motor. Fiat then the hardware and the software, calibrates it, and the whole package in its Mexico together with the regular Fiat 500 models.

The battery has a capacity of 24 kWh — the same as the LEAF but more than the 23 kWh — but the usable portion is as as 22.8 kWh, a far higher than anything else seen as a standard charging which in this car is the only

The battery sits in the floor, the front of the front seats all the way to the axle. It adds 600 pounds of to the tiny car, yielding a of 2,950 pounds, but it also the weight distribution from 63% to 53% front. Together with the center of gravity, this improves handling, which I to be excellent.

The low weight helps an an EPA-certified average range of 87 which is better than its competitors, the Nissan LEAF and Focus Electric. The soon-to-arrive Spark EV may come close to number; we shall see.

The Fiat 500e shares the Ford Focus Electric the of settings for acceleration, charging and — you only get in the car and go; there is to adjust. In contrast, the also-California-only RAV4 EV has a variety of settings for all of parameters; Chevrolet and Nissan are in-between.

Chrysler Electric Cars

The acceleration is a bit muted, to the Ford Focus Electric but as as any of the competitors. The overall NVH (noise, and harshness) is as solid as any car, — matching the class-leading Focus Electric.

Now I’ll my criticisms about this It’s obviously tiny. not an objective negative, but it does limit the appeal of this I’m sure you’re with the regular Fiat and this car is the same small

I looked at the rear seat for a and decided not to attempt to get in. The luggage is miniscule, too.

That’s I guess — some are OK with a tiny rear and luggage space. At least car is bigger than a Mercedes Car.

The other problem is I can’t get close to a good position, and the culprit is the nontelescoping wheel. I need the steering to move at least two inches, three or more, closer to my I’m 6 feet tall, and I to set the seat back almost up, causing extreme discomfort.

The Fiat 500e shares lack of telescoping steering and resulting bad seating position the Nissan LEAF, the pre-2010 Prius and the pre-2007 Mini In the cases of the LEAF and Mini, problem was fixed in those

The Fiat 500e will the most direct competition the Nissan LEAF, Ford Electric and the soon-to-arrive Chevrolet EV. There are important things we know about the Spark, as the range and exact price and but here is what we know with the Fiat: It’s a lot powerful (more than the torque) and it’s got a usable seat.

In terms of charging, uses the kind of 6.6 kW AC charger in the Nissan LEAF and Ford Electric, which is twice the (speed) of any of the two Chevrolet models. On the hand, the Chevrolet Spark EV has the 440 AC charger, which should a big bonus in the coming years.

One word about styling: The 500e is beautiful, inside and It’s a major styling Because of this, and because you get a comfortable seating position if a 6 feet tall, it would that this car is most to be bought or leased by short, single females, living in the California cities.

At the time of this article, the author was GOOG, AAPL, FB and NVDA. @antonwahlman

This article is by an independent contributor, separate TheStreet’s regular news

Chrysler Electric Cars
Chrysler Electric Cars
Chrysler Electric Cars
Chrysler Electric Cars
Chrysler Electric Cars

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