A dictator and his souped-up electric car

Fiat 500

It’s always fascinating to see how dictators spend big money on their hobbies while letting their people live in poverty. The takeover of Moammar Gadhafi compound this week unveiled a private side of the Libyan leader, and among the finds was a shiny green electric car by Fiat.

Apparently Gadhafi loves cars and in particular Fiat, in which his (toppling) government is an investor. The Italian newspaper Corriere Della Serra ran a post and a photo slide on its website that explained how the green Fiat 500 became one of many electric cars owned by Gadhafi. It noted that the car was converted by Milan-based Castagna in 2009 and ran on a 34KW electric motor. The electric car could travel about 161 miles per charge. (The photo you see in this post is another Fiat 500 converted by Castagna, and you can find more photos here).

Gadhafi loves cars so much that he once designed a car. Unveiled in 2009, he called it the “Libyan rocket” and wanted to mass produce it. A Libyan government official at the time called the car the “safest in the world” and claimed the reason Gadhafi dabbled in car engineering because he wanted to reduce the number of people who got involved in car accidents. It’s unclear if the car was ever produced in any number.

Image courtesy of Castagna



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