Fiat to put espresso maker in 500L

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Lavazza espresso

Lavazza espresso may coming soon to a Fiat near you. Image: UggBoy <3 UggGirl/Flickr/CC BY

Italian automaker Fiat wants to put an espresso maker in its 2013 500L model. The idea is meeting resistance in the U.S., for fear of causing distracted driving. But it could save a bundle on morning Starbucks runs.

Fiat espresso maker

The in-board espresso coffee maker will appear as an option this fall in Fiat 500L crossover SUVs sold in Europe. It will feature a Lavazza espresso maker designed especially for the vehicle, fitted into a custom-made deck. According to CNN, Lavazza is “considered to be the Starbucks of Italy.”

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Fiat said in a press release:

“The 500L is the first standard-production car in the world to offer a true espresso coffee machine that utilizes the technology of the ‘A Modo Mio’ pods. It is perfectly integrated in the car with a deck designed expressly by Fiat.”

Drinking and driving

However, the idea has stirred up some hot controversy in the U.S., where the debate over distracted driving is raging.  When the announcement hit American shores, it created quite a debate on Twitter, where many were quick to criticize the automaker’s decision, saying it will make driving, already fraught with risks, even riskier.

Only works in park

However, the automaker says these criticisms are short sighted. It says it has taken these concerns into consideration, and has tested the product thoroughly. It says the espresso maker is quite safe, since it will only work when the vehicle is in park.

Fiat’s communications press officer, Norman Winkler, told CNN:

“You can use it only when the car is stopped. It’s quite tiny and it has a docking station in which it remains locked. The quantity of coffee is much (smaller) than usual use in the cups in the states. Its espresso, it’s very tiny.”

Coming to U.S.?

Fiat has not decided yet if it will include the option in the U.S. version of the 500L when it finally reaches American shores. The hesitancy of the decision may well be because of the distracted driving controversy, which seems to be a more touchy subject stateside than in Europe.

Winkler said:

“We have not provided any product details at this time. As we get closer to our own launch of the vehicle we’ll provide feature availability and specs and more context between the Euro cousin and the U.S. model.”


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