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 500Fiat 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 500The 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 500The 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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New electric SUV

Honda teases its first EV

The Prologue will go on sale as a 2024 model.

Honda

Honda is nearing the unveiling of its first electric vehicle, the Prologue, and today the automaker gave us our first glimps of the new vehicle. It's just a sketch, but Honda did share some production details and information on its product roadmap.

Honda DealerHonda plans to sell half a million EVs by the end of the decade. Honda

Honda says the Prologue will be an adventure-ready SUV "capable of satisfying everyday driving and weekend getaways with a strong hint of the well-received Honda e in the front fascia." The SUV was developed in Honda's Design Studio in Los Angeles, and was designed with an eye on Honda's global EV models. Honda said it focused on aerodynamics and fine-tuning the body to reducelines and improve range.

The Japanese automaker developed the Prologue alongside GM, but it has other EVs coming to market by 2026. By 2030, Honda says it will release 30 new EVs globally with a production volume of two million units. The co-developed vehicle is the first, but the rest will be built on Honda e:Architecture. In 2027, the automaker will begin building and selling a line of affordable EVs using the architecture developed with General Motors. Honda says it plans to sell half a million EVs in North America by the end of hte decade.

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First-year Ford F-150 Lightning production numbers doubled
Ford

Ford has begun serial production of the new F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, marking what could be one of the most important days in recent automotive history. The first trucks rolled off the assembly line at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan today, so America's best-selling truck has finally gone electric. Ford wants to sell two million EVs per year by 2026 and have half of its global sales volume to be electric by 2030.

Ford F-150 LightningPast meets future: Ford's new electric pickup will be the F-150 Lightningautomotivemap.com

Ford has seen extreme demand for the trucks, with 200,000 reservations since the books opened. To deliver, the automaker plans to increase production to an annual rate of 150,000 units by next year, which involved huge investments in the Rouge Center and created hundreds of jobs. Ford's total investment for the F-150 Lightning crests $1 billion across Michigan alone, and has created 1,700 jobs across various facilities in the state.

Ford F-150 LightningThe first production trucks left the factory today.
Ford Motor Company

Though the Lightning starts around $40,000, the most mainstream models will cost much more than that. The F-150 Lightning Pro, while affordable, is a stripped-down truck intended for commercial buyers. It's still a forward-looking electric truck with amazing capabilities, but it lacks much of the creature comforts and features that everyday drivers expect. Higher trims get the latest driver assistance features, including BlueCruise, which is Ford's semi-autonomous hands-free driving assistant. A 12-inch touchscreen is standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and more.

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