Free crypto! Fiat to reward New 500 drivers for eco-friendly motoring

Joe Lorio
·2 min read

While Mother Nature may thank you for environmentally friendly motoring, Fiat will pay you. That is, they will if you drive a new 500, the brand's EV minicar, which is gone from the U.S. market but has been updated and re-introduced as a pure-electric model in Europe.

Fiat is teaming up with Kiri Technologies, described as a green-tech startup, for the program, which is called e-Mobility by Stellantis. The Fiat app tracks driver behavior, such as speed and distance, and uploads the information to the Kiri cloud. Kiri (the name comes from a tree that has an unusually voracious appetite for CO2) then converts that data into a score, and rewards drivers based on that score.

The rewards come in the form of cryptocurrency. Not Bitcoin, unfortunately (though BTC's mining may or may not be environmentally problematic depending upon whom you ask), but KiriCoin. One KiriCoin is worth 2 Euro cents but. Drivers track the KiriCoin earnings and total via the Fiat app. Fiat says drivers can expect to earn about 1 KiriCoin per kilometer. The earnings can be spent in "a proprietary marketplace" (which makes Kiri sound more like a points program than an open-market cryptocurrency with wildly fluctuating values). Drivers who achieve the highest scores also may receive bonus offers from major retailers such as Amazon, Apple and Netflix.

Factor out the flakiness of a startup cryptocurrency, and the idea of rewarding drivers for eco-conscious behavior has some merit. Of course, it raises privacy concerns — much like auto-insurance data trackers that monitor driver behavior with the promise of a potential discount on rates — but it could be a useful incentive on a strictly opt-in basis. With the base price of a Fiat New 500 approximately $42,000, drivers aren't going to put much of a dent in their monthly car payment with this program, but it never feels bad to earn a few perks along the way.

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