Electric Vehciles

New all-electric Fiat 500 revealed, but it might not come to the U.S.

The new Fiat 500 is only available with an electric powertrain.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has debuted a new chapter in Fiat 500 history. The car is now only available with an electrified powertrain, though FCA is still deciding if it will ever be sold in the U.S.

The new 500 has a more aggressive exterior that's less bulbous but still retains many fo the design characteristics of the 500 of years past. At the front, for the first time, there's a 500 badge instead of just a Fiat badge. The front bumper is like the one on the 1957 model while LED headlights and flush body handles push the model into the 21st Century.

2021 Fiat 500 Fiat added vintage design touches to the exterior of the new model.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

It is 2.4 inches longer and wider than before with a slightly longer wheelbase and larger wheels.

The car is powered by a 42-kWh lithium-ion battery and Ann 85-kWh fast charger. It has an output of 87kWh and is able to accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 9 seconds (not exactly a land speed record). But, it can get to 31 mph from a standstill in 3.1 seconds. It has a range of approximately 199 miles (WLTP).

Fiat has given the car three drive modes: Normal, Range and Sherpa. Sherpa is like an extreme eco mode, using the least amount of fuel required to get to the destination. To do this is limits the speed to under 50 mph, lessons throttle response, and deactivates the climate control system and heated seats.

The Range drive mode allows for one-pedal driving.

2021 Fiat 500 The car has a thoroughly modern interior that has come a long way in recent years.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

In Normal mode, the car has a top speed of 93 mph.

The 500 is the first Fiat to receive FCA's new UConnect 5 system, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and wireless communication. It comes equipped with a 10.25-inch touch screen.

2021 Fiat 500 The large 10.4-inch screen sits front and center on the dashboard.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The car, which was designed primarily for the European market, features Level 2 autonomous drive capability. That's relatively standard for new cars these days. Its features include:

  • Front-facing camera monitoring technology
  • Adaptive cruise control system that brakes or accelerates in response to cars, cyclists, pedestrians
  • Lane centring that the vehicle in the centre of the lane when the markings are correctly identified
  • Intelligent Speed Assist reads the speed limits and recommends applying them
  • Urban Blind Spot uses ultrasonic sensors to monitor the blind spots and warn of any obstacles with a triangular warning light on the wing mirror
  • Attention Assist provides warnings on the display, recommending that you stop and take a break when you are tired
  • 360-degree sensors provide a drone-like view to avoid any obstacles when parking or performing complex maneuvers
There is no word when a decision will be made regarding the model being brought to the U.S.

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The Lordstown Endurance all-electric pickup truck is moving closer to production.

Photo courtesy of Lordstown Motors

The Lordstown Endurance isn’t under production yet, but the company is already receiving orders for the all-electric pickup truck - 40,000 of them. The model is targeted at commercial fleet vehicle buyers like city governments and large corporate entities that require the capability of a full-size truck.

Each pre-order is a non-binding agreement to purchase the truck, the same as the reservations received by Ford for the Mustang Mach-E and Tesla for the Cybertruck. The purchases equal $2 billion in revenue for the company, which is based in Lordstown, Ohio.

2021 Lordstown Endurance The design of the interior of the Endurance is crisp and modern.Photo courtesy of Lordstown Motors

Lordstrown has kicked up the cadence of its news releases as the company moves closer to production. In June, the company debuted the truck and announced its $52,000 price point.

July marked the release of the first renderings of the interior of the Endurance and the debut of the first commercial starring the truck. Then, in August, Lordstown announced that they had entered into an agreement with DiamondPeak Holdings to become a publicly traded company.

Lordstown Motors is operating out of the former General Motors Lordstown Assembly site. The new company has its plant next to the battery facility that General Motors is developing to assist with the products coming to market in the future, like the Cadillac Lyriq.

2021 Lordstown Endurance The large screen combines most vital functions of the car’s command center into one place.Photo courtesy of Lordstown Motors

Now, the company as revealed its first pictures of the interior of the truck. Notably, the Endurance has its large screen spanning the width of the driver and center console, housing most all vital functional controls of the vehicle.

Reservations for the truck continue to be taken via the company’s website.

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Southern California is one of the hotspots for pollution in the U.S.

Photo by Getty Images

California is the country's largest new vehicle sales market. It's also in the crosshairs of climate change activists fighting to change decades of regulations in an effort to improve the livelihoods of the state's residents while also benefitting the plants and animals that live in the state.

Governor Gavin Newson today issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035. This means that the sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles will be banned in favor of battery electric (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV) vehicles.

That goal is poised to eliminate 35 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions and 80 percent of the oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide, according to the State.

Data from the State shows that the transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all California's carbon pollution. Eighty percent of the that is from smog-forming pollution while 95 percent is from diesel emissions. The transportation sector includes passenger vehicles as well as shipping and other forms of mobility.

"This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change," said Governor Newsom. "For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn't have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn't make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn't melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines."

The next steps include the California Air Resources Board developing regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035. Additionally, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are mandated to be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks.

The move to all-BEV and FCEV vehicles won't eliminate the pollutants spewed by vehicles purchased prior to 2035 or the purchase of used vehicles.

This isn’t the first time California has attempted to regulate electrified vehicles into popularity. Despite the state’s efforts, BEVs, FCEVs, and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are unpopular among buyers nationwide. Out of the 17 million vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2019, just 330,000 of them were plug-in electric cars (BEVs and PHEVs) with 80 percent of those being Teslas. Only 7,000 FCEVs were sold or leased during the same period.

Additionally, “the executive order directs state agencies to develop strategies for an integrated, statewide rail and transit network, and incorporate safe and accessible infrastructure into projects to support bicycle and pedestrian options, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities” according to a release by the Governor’s office.

Earlier this year, the California Air Resources Board has approved new regulations requiring truck manufacturers to transition to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024.

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