You may recall, or perhaps you never even knew, we leased a bright orange Fiat 500e when we had a condo in San Francisco. The car’s name was Orange Juice because it ran on juice – electricity. It was the perfect car for the city. It would just zip up the hills as if they were not even there, and you could all but park it in your jacket pocket.
The car just had one problem: If you didn’t drive it every week, it would need to be jump started even though it was plugged into a car charger in the garage. Yes. Imagine that. Our primary residence was Atlanta, and the car always sat for weeks in between our being back in San Francisco. No one told us this about the car’s weird engineering.
It took their service department months and months and numerous visits to figure out what the problem was. I thought the vehicle was defective. We wanted to return the car. They wouldn’t accept it. We even offered to pay off the entire lease; so, we could get a car that would actually suit our needs. They refused.
I felt like Fiat Chrysler robbed us. We had a car that required about a 30 minute charge every time we visited San Francisco. We had to buy a special charger to accomplish this. And Steve had to risk frying his pacemaker when he was in the city alone and had to charge the car himself.
So, bottom line, I would never recommend doing business with McKevitt Fiat of Berkeley. They fully understood how we would use the car1 , knew the car would need to be charged every time we returned to use it, and sold us the car without telling us anything about what turned out to be a known issue. Then Fiat Chrysler refused to make the deal good.
By the way, none of our other electric cars ever had this issue. They could sit plugged in for months unused and start instantly without any issues. Fiat just shit engineered their vehicle in my humble opinion, and there were some fascinating reasons for that centering around the fact that they lost their shirt on this car – also for some fascinating reasons2 .
To be clear, we loved the car. It was huge on the inside but tiny on the outside. It would have been fine for day to day driving around the city, but it was not usable for a second home. Anyway, we were able to return the car just days before the pandemic started and the world shut down. Thank goodness for that!