After a three-year developing phase, the Brazilian subsidiary of Fiat is producing an electric version of the Fiat Palio Weekend. The car manufacturers claim it has about 75 miles of autonomy (120 kilometers), 60 MPH speed, and an estimated price of 70 thousand USD.
Nothing compared to models like the Tesla Model S in terms of speed, looks and price, we know. But interesting in terms of an electric car being produced in South America, the first we know of (the REVA is sold in Chile, but not produced).
Can this mean the region could finally look forward to a near future of electric cars? Check the extended for more details.The Electric Fiat Palio Weekend
According to the auto section at O Globo newspaper, the first conversations for the electric Palio Weekend began in 2006, when Fiat signed an agreement with Itaipu Binacional and the Swiss KWO. Three years later, the car is on production at the company's Foz do Iguazu factory at Parana state in Brazil.
The electric engine is by KWO and its battery is 100% recyclable thanks to its composition of sodium chloride and nickel, according to the mentioned source. Fiat claims it has an autonomy of about 75 miles (120 kilometers) and that its full charge time is eight hours.
Its acceleration time 0-62 MPH is nine seconds according to Fiat but 28 according to O Globo's test drive (that would be considerably lower than the most advanced electric cars on the market). Its maximum speed is not to be amazed either: over 62 MPH. And it's more expensive than other alternatives: while it's only aimed at companies so far, its estimated price if it was sold to consumers would be 70 thousand USD.
So the car is not even close to being a really attractive electric option worldwide. However, the fact that an all electric car is being produced in Brazil, the news that the first electric charging station opened in Rio and the issue of the Brazilian government unveiling plans to develop a national electric car along with its Science and Technology Ministry may very well indicate that this country could be bringing the electric hype to Latin America.
Electronic panel inside the car.
We'll have to wait a little longer to really see that happen though. The price is not the only issue stopping Fiat from mass producing it: the electric engine is imported and the battery heavy, and the taxes over the car are higher because it's considered a "special model".
Nonetheless, we're happy to see some development of green driving. Even though Brazil is heading the wave on biofuels, sales of hybrid and electric cars are little to non existent in South America; and their production even less common.