Let’s face it: If you ask Joe Public to describe the personal attributes of your average electric car owner, you'd probably get a description of a left-leaning, affluent and well-educated individual on the east or west coast of the U.S.
A less-polite individual may even chose to add a few colorful adjectives which may imply various things about a typical electric car owner’s sexual behavior or parentage.
But no matter who you ask, we’re pretty sure that “dictatorial despot” won’t be among the words used by anyone to describe an electric-car fan.
And yet, that’s precisely the description many commentators have used to describe African dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi--who as it turns out, has a thing for electric cars.
The former Libyan leader may be in hiding while his loyal forces desperately try to retain control of the only Libyan town to not fall to the hands of the rebel National Transitional Council, but a custom-built Fiat 500 doorless electric car he once drove is now in the hands of rebel forces.
Built to order at the behest of a family member as a present for the self-proclaimed Libyan leader, the Green Fiat 500 was specially converted by Italian customizers Castagna Milano.
Custom Fiat 500 - Similar to Gathafi's electric 500
According to a translated article from Italian website Corriere Della Sera, when the car was commissioned by a mysterious anonymous buyer there were some indications that the car would be heading for Qaddafi’s personal fleet.
“…on the left upright, a back-lit image of the Lion of the Desert…on the A-pillar on the right, a circle with the symbolic representation of the Libyan society. On the nose, instead of the Fiat brand, a logo with the black silhouette of Africa, Libya highlighted in green (the particular is made of malachite) and three-color books above all.”
We think it was pretty obvious where the car was headed when it was commissioned two years ago. After all, who else would want a green car trimmed with gold with the Fiat logo replaced by a patriotic Libyan insignia?
In addition to the unique finish, the electric Fiat 500 included a 34-kilowatt motor, and a battery large enough to give it a claimed range of 160 miles per charge. Top speed is thought to be around 100 miles per hour.
We’re not sure what’s happened to the car -- it was last seen being pushed through the streets of Tripoli by triumphant locals -- but we’re hoping for no other reason but pure curiosity that it survives as a testament to Qaddafi’s bizarre tastes.
As for stereotypical electric car owners? We'd rather have our sexuality or lineage questioned than be called a despot any day.
To see the actual photographs of Qaddafi’s seized electric Fiat 500, head here.
[Corriere Della Sera via Gigaom]