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It Was a Big Week for Weird Little EVs

Think the Cybertruck is strange? The Morgan XP-1 would like a word.

Fiat and Morgan EVs.
Heatmap Illustration/Morgan Motor Company, Stellantis

The Americanization of electric cars is in full swing, with every U.S. automaker doing what it does best: building ever larger, heavier, and more spacious vehicles. So it's refreshing to see Stellantis, the parent company of Fiat, bringing its first new EV to the States in the form of a reborn 500e.

Fiat 500eFiat

The 500e was beloved when it first landed a decade ago, providing a quick, ultra-compact hatchback that fit the needs of most city and suburban drivers. And given there weren't exactly a lot of small, inexpensive EV options at the time (and incentives were plentiful), you still see them on the road today.

For the new model, Fiat addressed this week some of the issues of its predecessor, with a boost in both power and range thanks to a 42 kWh battery pack that wrings out 149 miles on a charge. The $34,000 price tag may not make it the bargain it used to be, particularly compared to more spacious and long-range options like the Tesla Model 3, which, unlike the 500e, is also eligible for a federal tax credit. But Fiat includes a free Level 2 home charger in the deal, and its 3,000-pound weight and diminutive size make a compelling case for the average commuter.

Plus, when it’s trundling along at low speeds, the 500e's Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (that low hum you hear that's required on EVs) plays a little Italian concerto, "The Sound of 500."

If that's not enough personality for you, one of the most storied British sports car brands, Morgan, unveiled Wednesday an electric update to its iconic three-wheeler. With a 33kWh battery pack mounted in the front and an electric motor putting out 134 horsepower to the rear wheel — singular — the XP-1 is a glimpse of the ultimate electric urban runabout.

Meet XP-1, Morgan's Electric Experimental Prototypeyoutu.be

Completely developed in house by Morgan, it's the company's first serious foray into electric motoring, with an aim to get about 100 miles on a charge. At just over 1,500 pounds, the XP-1 is a scant 130 pounds heavier than its internal combustion counterpart, providing the kind of performance and raw driving experience Morgan is known for. Granted, the lack of a roof limits its four-season functionality, but no one has ever accused a Morgan of being sensible.

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Damon Lavrinc

Damon Lavrinc is a freelance writer and industrial design student focused on the future of transportation. A former driving instructor and communications professional, Damon is the co-founder of the Autonocast and led transportation technology coverage at WIRED, Jalopnik, and other outlets. Read More

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Sparks

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Electric car charging.
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Future Chicken.
Heatmap Illustration/CBC, Getty Images

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An EV charger.
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