We’ve reported more than once in the past few weeks that FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) is readying to accelerate its transition to electric mobility. Now the company has announced a move that puts money on the table to help it attain its objective of producing 80,000 Fiat 500 EVs on an annual basis.
This is not much of a surprise, given that we already knew what direction the company was heading in with the little car.
What’s more, an electric-powered edition of the 500 had already been produced. That first version constituted mainly a compliance move, which allowed FCA to meet American requirements for its overall fleet. Then-boss Sergio Marchionne had even gone so far as ask consumers on our continent not to buy the model, as each sale represented a loss of $14,000 CAD for the automaker.
The context this time around is totally different. FCA has announced a 700 million Euro investment, the equivalent of over $1 billion CAD, to build the next generation of all-electric Fiat 500s at its plant in Turin, in the north of Italy.
That 80,000 per annum target is still far less than what Tesla produces, but it’s a massive leap forward compared to the first generation of 500 EVs.
This will surely be a make-or-break moment for the Fiat 500 in North America, where its recurrent problems with reliability have relegated the model to the back of the line for many consumers. The electric version will have to make a big splash to bring in former Fiat fans back to the fold.
Clearly the future Fiat 500 EV comes to bat with two strikes already against it, but we’ve seen other players hit a 0-and-2 pitch out of the park, haven’t we…