Fiat to pump almost $800M into next-generation 500e electric car

This new one shouldn't be a massive loss leader, like the last one.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
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It's wild just how much money FCA lost every time it sold one of these little guys.


The first-generation was a bit of an experiment, a US-only electric variant of the with 111 horsepower and a range of about 80 miles. It wasn't exactly a hot seller, and it didn't exactly contribute to Fiat Chrysler's bottom line, but that didn't mean lessons weren't learned. Now, the company is cooking up a second-generation 500e that should be much better positioned.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will invest 700 million euros (about $788 million) on the next-gen Fiat 500e, Reuters reports, citing comments from Pietro Gorlier, a Fiat Chrysler executive. Gorlier told a scrum of reporters that the company still intends to invest in future EV technology despite the potential merger with Renault falling apart.

There's more involved in building an electric car than just the car itself. Reuters says that FCA's investment will go toward a new production line in Mirafiori, Italy, where it hopes to produce 80,000 examples of the new 500e. The goal is to start production in the latter part of the first half of 2020.

And, unlike the last one, it will be available in Europe, although it's unclear if the car will return to the US. These two markets have wildly different needs regarding range, so Fiat may choose to pull a Honda and engineer its electric city car with only Europe in mind, like the Japanese automaker is doing with its E hatchback.

The first Fiat 500e wasn't exactly a Hot Mess Express, but it was close. When we reviewed the 2015 model, we didn't mind the middling range, and we liked its style, but it lacked quick-charge support and it came with an outdated standalone TomTom navigation system. It also hemorrhaged money -- then-CEO Sergio Marchionne repeatedly stated that his company lost between $14,000 and $20,000 for every 500e it sold.

The 2015 Fiat 500e is a chic Italian car with an eco sensibility (pictures)

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Watch this: The 2015 Fiat 500e makes going green chic and easy