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Fiat Recalls 500e Battery-Car

Latest in a series of recalls impacting plug-based vehicles.

by on Aug.15, 2013

Fiat discovered several key assembly steps were skipped in early versions of the 500e battery-car.

Fiat’s little 500e has had its first short-circuit, so to speak, the Italian partner of U.S. automaker Chrysler announcing the battery-electric vehicle as to be recalled due to a problem that could cause an unexpected loss of power.

Despite the relatively small size, the service campaign could prove costly for Fiat whose executives have acknowledged they’re losing substantial amounts of money on every battery-car they sell. But they were hoping that the 500e would be an image booster, especially in green-minded California, currently the only market where the battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, is sold.

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The problem turns out to be unrelated to the electric portion of the Fiat 500e powertrain. Instead, it involves half shafts that transfer torque from the vehicle’s gearbox to its wheels. An investigation was launched after Chrysler Group learned a customer’s vehicle unexpectedly lost power, engineers discovering two assembly steps had not been properly completed, creating a condition that could lead to half shaft separation.

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Chrysler Charging Up Over Electric Vehicles

After Fiat 500e, "additional" battery cars "coming" promises electrification chief.

by on Jul.18, 2013

Fiat plans to sell only a few 100 of its 500e battery cars in California -- at a significant loss.

Despite the seemingly entrenched opposition of its CEO, Chrysler suddenly appears ready to charge into the electric vehicle market.

With the new Fiat 500e now rolling into showrooms in California, the smallest of the Detroit makers has “additional vehicles coming,” hints Chrysler’s global battery car chief.

“The 500e is just the first step,” said Mike Duhaime, the maker’s new global director of electrified propulsion and engineering, in an interview with the Detroit Free Press. “There are battery-electric vehicles in our future.”

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Chrysler is clearly playing a game of catch-up when it comes to battery power, the maker way behind most competitors, large and small, when it comes to plug-ins, pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, and even conventional hybrids. One of the reasons has been the strong concerns about battery power repeatedly expressed by Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

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Chrysler Will Lose $10,000 on Every Fiat 500e, Marchionne Warns

“We need to innovate,” CEO tells automotive engineers.

by on Apr.19, 2013

Fiat plans to sell only a few 100 of its 500e battery cars in California -- at a significant loss.

Chrysler Group will lose a substantial amount of money on every battery powered Fiat 500 that it plans to sell in the state of California, Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne warned during a speech in Detroit Thursday night.

Marchionne said the new Fiat 500e is technically very impressive, having posted some of the best fuel-economy figures yet for a vehicle with an alternative powertrain. But the potential losses on the project will likely be equally notable.

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“We will lose $10,000 per vehicle. Doing that on a large scale would industrial masochism,” noted Marchionne, who also took an oblique swipe at California regulators, particularly the California Air Resources Board, or CARB.

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Chrysler Disbanding ENVI But Maintaining EVs

U.S. maker will lead EV development for Fiat, too.

by on Nov.09, 2009

Chrysler is shutting down its ENVI battery car unit, though the maker insists it will "absorb" the project into its conventional sales divisions.

Chrysler is shutting down its ENVI battery car unit, though the maker insists it will "absorb" the project into its conventional sales divisions.

Despite taking more than eight hours to brief the news media on its plans for the future, Chrysler and its new masters, Fiat, left some gaping holes, last week – notable among them, the company’s intentions, post-bankruptcy, for electric vehicles.

Now, it seems, that question has been answered, Chrysler is eliminating its ENVI electric vehicle unit, though well-placed company sources tells TheDetroitBureau.com that despite some news reports, this morning, it is not eliminating battery car development.

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Quite the contrary.  The U.S. maker will become the “center of excellence” for all electric vehicle development for both its own product programs and those of its Italian parent, Fiat.

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