Any new technology
generally costs an arm, a leg, and a bit of your sanity to adopt early, but that's a luxury that the well settled auto market cannot afford. In light of its elastic economics, car makers looking to go electric
have had to be extremely aggressive in cutting their own profits, an aggressiveness that's now been estimated by Fiat's CEO Sergio Marchionne to cost them as much as $10,000 per unit sold
. Fiat's famed little car, the Cinquecento, is going to be hitting the US in a new EV configuration in 2012
, in spite of the fact it'll be causing a ding to the company's bottom line. It's not actually clear whether Mr. Marchionne is factoring in research and development costs or whether he's talking purely of material costs, though Fiat's fate is hardly unique -- the Nissan Leaf
isn't expected to generate a profit for a good couple of years yet. The Fiat 500 EV's likely price was indirectly revealed, too, by the company chief's assertion that it'll retail for about three times the cost of its gas-powered version. So about $45,000. Yikes!