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.
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.