Ok, it’s not really a secret. But I sure wasn’t aware that the Italian automaker is “the biggest player in the market for natural gas engines,” selling 68k natural gas-powered rides last year and aiming for 120k unit sales this year. Thanks for the heads-up, NY Times! In yet more evidence of Fiat’s politically-savvy strategy, Italy’s scrappage scheme currently doubles the rebate for paisans who junk their clunker for a natural gas hoopty. Naturally though, one government incentive isn’t enough: “Fiat is collaborating with fuel companies and the Italian government to provide more than 1,000 stations where motorists can fill their tanks with natural gas.” Though most NG Fiats are “dual-fuel,” US infrastructure will have to be significantly upgraded (with help from taxpayers) to cash in on NG’s green promise stateside. Nonetheless Fiat’s natural gas technology is raising hopes for Chrysler’s future, if a deal is done, if infrastructure is upgraded, and if US consumers spring for the emerging fuel. But a word of warning: eco-tech enticement sent several billion GM bucks down the Fiat rabbit hole in search of competitive diesel technology not that long ago. And we all know how that turned out.
Find Reviews by Make: