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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Research and development

Ford names site for battery development facility

Ford's new facility will house battery research and development.

Ford

Ford is in the news again for its electrification efforts, this time with the confirmation of a Michigan location for a new battery research and development facility in Romulus, Michigan. The facility may eventually help Ford in-source much of its EV supply chain, a shift that could prevent or mitigate the challenges presented by parts and technology shortages.

As part of its electrification initiative, the automaker plans to build a new research and development facility, called Ford Ion Park. The facility will house new tech research, pilot programs for new manufacturing techniques, and will help give Ford more control over its supply chain.


Ford Ion Park Once complete, the facility will initially house 200 engineers.Ford


The price tag for the new facility and related efforts lands at $185 million, which sounds like chump change for a global automaker until we consider that Ford has committed $30 billion to electrification by 2025. The automaker says that its new facility renews its dedication to Michigan as its home base for EV development, a promise it originally made back in 2010. The company's new electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck will be built in Dearborn, which will add 500 jobs. An additional 225 jobs will be retained at Ford's Dyke Electric Powertrain Center.

As part of Phase One of the project, Ford plans to hire 200 engineers within 18 months of the 270,000-square-foot facility's opening. Ironically, the site was previously owned by A123 Systems, a battery manufacturer that closed the facility in 2017 due to low demand for batteries.


Ford Ion Park Ford has committed $185 million to the new facility and related efforts.Ford

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Discontinued sedan

Volkswagen nixing Passat after 2022 model year

Racing Green Metallic is one of four exclusive colors for the car.

Volkswagen

After five decades on sale in the U.S., Volkswagen is pulling the plug on the midsize Passat. The explosion of SUVs' popularity and the need to shift production power to electric vehicles are behind the decision, which will take place after the 2022 model year. The cars have been built at the automaker's Chattanooga, TN plant since 2011, but the facility is being repurposed as VW's North American hub for electric vehicle assembly.

Volkswagen is giving the car one last hurrah, however, in the form of the Passat Limited Edition. The car features 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with an Advanced Front Lighting System, and an easy-open trunk. Inside, the cars come with sport seats wrapped in Vienna leather, memory seating, a Fender Premium Audio System, parking assistance, and parking sensors.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition Each car gets a special model tag with its limited production number.Volkswagen


Only 1,973 of the cars will be built, and it will only be sold in four colors, each with its own limited production numbers that have special meaning for the Passat:

  • Aurora Red Metallic with Titan Black interior: 411 units to represent the original vehicle production code
  • Racing Green Metallic with Mauro Brown interior: 423 units to commemorate the Chattanooga 423 area code
  • Pure white with Mauro Brown interior: 524 units to signify the Chattanooga plant's May 24 opening date
  • Platinum Great Metallic with Titan Black interior: 615 units to signify six generations of imported Passats, one generation assembled in Chattanooga, and five decades of U.S. sales

Pricing for the 2022 Passat starts at $31,290, which includes a $995 destination fee. Adding Aurora Red Metallic drives the price up by an additional $395. Each car will receive a special number plate to designate its place in the limited production run.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition The Passat Limited Edition gets several upscale features. Volkswagen

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