Europeans will get paid to drive the new Fiat 500

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EV evangelists who choose to drive the cute new Fiat 500 will be rewarded with crypto-currency payments.

The amount of digital scratch earned will depend on driving style, with those owners who eke out the most from their batteries getting the most e-money. Unlike other crypto-cash the KiriCoins that 500 owners can “mine” through driving can’t be traded on the open market. Instead they can be exchanged for rewards vouchers for use on Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Spotify, and fashion portal Zalando.

By encouraging drivers to be light on the throttle Fiat hopes to add to the electric 500’s environmental creds. The Kiri crypto scheme is named after the Kiri tree (also known as Paulownia) which absorbs ten times as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as any other plant. One KiriCoin is worth around two cents and is awarded for each kilometer of eco driving. Owners can chart their progress on a smartphone app.

Fiat’s Giorgio Nero says, “To support a program as innovative and ambitious as Kiri, a car like the New 500 really was needed. An object with cult status, a connected icon that has become a mobility project to reward its customers with a cryptocurrency, to be spent in a dedicated marketplace made up of companies from the fashion, accessories and design industries, all of whom have a fervent belief in sustainability.”

Fiat reckons that driving 6000 miles a year could net owners $150 to spend online. Is this just greenwashing or a smart incentive to alter driver behavior?

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