Studies show American consumers remain wary of battery-electric vehicles for a variety of factors, including high costs and limited range. So, when their new electric vehicles go on sale, both Fiat and BMW aim to address those concerns directly with such innovative incentives as free gas-powered loaners for longer trips, software designed to find charging stations and, the old standby, low-cost financing.
BMW plans to install optional at-home fast-charging systems for the i3 city car coming out at the end of 2013. Onboard navigation software will be programmed to detect the nearest public charging station during trips, and i3 owners will be able to borrow a gasoline-fueled car from the maker when longer trips are necessary.
“The BMW group is charting new territory,” Harald Krueger, the carmaker’s head of production, said at a presentation near Leipzig. “We are confident we will earn money with every BMW i3 we sell from the launch on.”
Fiat is less confident about the financial situation when it launches the new 500e electric vehicle – Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne telling an industry conference he expects to lose $10,000 on every one of the vehicles. (Click Here for the full story.)
But facing a mandate to sell zero-emission vehicles in California, the trans-Atlantic maker wants to maximize demand and will offer incentives for those who purchase or lease the 2013 Fiat 500e when the electric vehicle goes on sale in California this summer.
Chrysler officials said their retail plan addresses concerns that have typically prevented some consumers from purchasing or leasing EVs in the past, including initial purchase price, driving range, and the unfamiliarity with charging and operating an EV.
The 500e will be offered to California residents at launch for $199 a month with $999 due at signing for a 36-month lease. That’s the same as the current lease offer on a Fiat 500 Pop model powered by a gas engine.
The Fiat 500e is priced at $32,500, which includes a $700 destination charge. However, eligible California residents may be able to purchase the 500e for as low as $20,500 after federal tax credits, state incentives and additional Fiat rebates are included. That’s about $200 less than the current starting price of a comparably-equipped Fiat 500 Lounge with a gas engine.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) testing has indicated that, when fully charged, the Fiat 500e will travel about 87 miles, which is best-in-class and better than all U.S.-market all-electric vehicles produced by high-volume manufacturers.
Like BMW, Fiat plans to address the issue of what to do when a driver needs travel beyond the 500e’s range — or needs the carrying capability of a larger vehicle.
The Fiat 500e retail plan provides an alternative transportation plan called the Fiat 500e Pass program. Working with Enterprise Holdings, owner and operator of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car, and National Car Rental brands – those who purchase or lease a Fiat 500e will get up to 12 days use of alternate transportation each year for the first three years after the date of purchase.
The Fiat 500e Pass program offers customers access to vehicles such as the gas-powered Fiat 500, the coming Fiat 500L, the all-new Dodge Dart or the Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan. In addition, customers will have the flexibility to upgrade to a larger vehicle such as a minivan or a pickup truck subject to terms of the program.
Tags: auto news, battery cars, bmw i3, bmw i3 free loaners, bmw news, car news, chrysler news, electric vehicles, fiat 500e, fiat 500e free loaners, fiat 500e incentives, fiat free loaners, fiat news, joe szczesny, thedetroitbureau