Earlier this week at the LA Auto Show, Fiat (and its corporate owner, Chrysler) unveiled an attention grabbing, all-electric Fiat 500e, and two other Fiats a 5-seater 500L and and an Abarth convertible.
While Chrysler is a latecomer to EVs and hybrids, the 500e it unveiled is intended to compete well in California, which reportedly accounts for 32% of all-new electric vehicle sales and 24.7% of all hybrids sold in the U.S.
The 500e will come with an electric orange exterior with a white and orange interior.
In an interview with Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press, Tim Kuniskis, head of Fiat Brand North America, said he expects the 2013 Fiat 500e to reach beyond the typical set of environmentally conscious first-adopters.
"We are not going to build a car for the guy who says I've got to have an electric car, because that customer is a tiny, tiny, tiny segment," Kuniskis said. "A bigger segment is the guy who says I want a Fiat 500, but I am open to considering new technology."
The 500e's lithium-ion battery pack produces 111 horsepower and recharges in less than 4 hours with a 240-volt charger. Kuniskis said the car will go an average of 80 miles on a single charge and more than 100 miles in city driving.
That translates into an estimated 116 m.p.g. equivalent in the city and 100 m.p.g.e. on the highway, Fiat said.
A thermal management system allows the car to travel about the same distance on a single charge in hot or cold conditions because it will maintain a constant temperature for the battery.
The battery for the 500e comes from German auto supplier Robert Bosch and will be produced in Springboro, Ohio.
The 500e is to go on sale during the second quarter of 2013 in California and eventually in other markets.
How much will the car cost? They're not saying. Don't you love that?