The continuous evolution of the Fiat 500 and all the subsequent iterations it has had this year are about to welcome another member to the family: the 500e.
With the standard 500, the 500C and the 500L already making their debuts in their respective niches, the 500e is set to fill the vacant electric-power niche in the 500 lineup. It will make that will make its own debut at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.
With the launch of the all-electric Fiat 500e, environmentalists can now drive the iconic Italian car without aguilty consciousness. With an impressive range of116 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) city and 100 MPGe highway, it aims to electrify the gasoline-powered 500 series.
The all electric Fiat 500e has been unveiled at the 2012 LA Auto Show. Being the first electric powered Italian in North American market, Fiat has confirmed that it will arrive in California Studios during the second quarter of 2013.
So, is the Fiat 500e an alternative worth considering among the 500 series, or is it too early to adopt an electric and expensive shoe? Find out in our review of the Fiat 500e.
Update 4/16/2013: Fiat has revealed the pricing information and an innovative exchange program for the all-new 500e. Check out the "Prices" section, after the jump for more details.
Click past the jump to read our full review on the 500e
Exterior and Interior
The Fiat 500e is little more than a 500 running on electricity. Unlike other EVs, like the awkwardly designed Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Fiat 500e retains the classic 500 styling that we all know and either love or hate.
To achieve a whisper-quiet interior, you do not only need a super-quiet motor, but also smooth airflow up and over the car. For this purpose, Fiat has installed eight extra enhancements to achieve a 13-percent improvement in aerodynamics — 0.311 coefficient of drag (Cd) compared to the 2013 Fiat 500 Lounge’s 0.359 Cd.
Fiat installed 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) instrument cluster displays full-color picture graphics, as well as various vehicle functions, charge levels and trip summary. Also added in is a new navigation system that enables the driver to view the vehicle’s charge schedule, range and power-flow gauges. The navi system can even request nearby charging stations with real-time availability.
Power and Range
The Fiat 500e’s electric powertrain produces 111 horsepower and recharges in less than 4 hours. The 500e has an estimated range of 87 miles, but Fiat also claims that it can travel over 100 miles in the city on a single charge.
Also added into the mix is a completely revised suspension system to accommodate the EV powertrain and give it ideal handling characteristics.
Initially, the Fiat 500e will only be available in California starting in the summer of 2013. We’re sure it will expand over time. It will come in at a high-for-a-Fiat-500 $32,500 ($700 delivery charge included), but incentives from the federal and state government, and Fiat rebates drag it down to as low as $20,500 in California.
Additionally, Fiat will offer California residents the the opportunity to lease the 500e for just $199 per month after $999 down for 36 months.
Along with the 500e, you also get the 500e Pass Program, which allows you to exchange you electric-powered 500 for a gas-powered 500, 500L, Dodge Dart or a Chrysler 200 for up to 12 days per year through the first three years of ownership free of charge. The replacement cars are available at any Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car or National Car Rental.
The 500e is contested by the recently announced Chevrolet Spark EV and the Nissan Leaf.
The Chevrolet Spark EV, like the Fiat 500e, was also launched at the L.A Auto Show. Where the 500e showcases European styling and appeal, the Spark produces greater electric power at an affordable price.
The Nissan Leaf has been in the market for quite sometime. So expect price to be high and refinement to be low. It’s also reported that the Nissan Leaf takes estimated 13 hours to recharge it’s batteries. Yes, environment conservation is good, but not at the cost of real world convenience.
European styling and no awkward EV garbage
Over 100 miles in the city
Only 4 hours to charge
As low as 80 miles per charge
Will likely be far slower than the Spark EV
Pricing could get out of hand
All-new 2013 Fiat 500e Recharges the Electric Vehicle (EV) Segment with Italian Style and Performance
- All-new 2013 Fiat 500e electrifies the Cinquecento lineup with even more innovation and style, plus up to an estimated 116 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) city and 100 MPGe highway of pure battery-electric power and zero tailpipe emissions
- Fiat 500e is designed to keep electric vehicle (EV) ownership simple with its familiar no-nonsense design, convenience features and intelligently integrated approach to battery-electric technology
- More than 80 miles of estimated range, with city driving range typically greater than 100 miles
- World-class handling and braking for an EV that adds to the FIAT brand’s lineup of vehicles with highly engaging driving dynamics
- Arriving in the second quarter of 2013 to FIAT Studios in California
November 28, 2012 , Los Angeles - Designing city-friendly, environmentally responsible and fun-to-drive small cars is what the FIAT brand and its “Simply More” belief stand for. The all-new 2013 Fiat 500e electrifies the next chapter of the brand’s legacy by embodying the FIAT brand’s simple, purposeful and fun-to-drive values – through iconic style, engaging dynamics and an environmentally responsible zero-emissions design.
"The Fiat 500e changes the paradigm in an electric vehicle market that’s quickly becoming crowded," said Tim Kuniskis, Head of FIAT Brand North America. "The Fiat 500e offers iconic Italian design and a great combination of performance and range, with battery technology that delivers consistent performance across all weather conditions."
Designed to be a no-compromise electric vehicle (EV), the 2013 Fiat 500e builds on the Cinquecento’s successful small-car formula, while adding an all-new battery-electric powertrain that produces 111 horsepower (83 kW), recharges in less than 4 hours with its Level 2 (240 volt) on-board charging module (OBCM) and delivers more than 80 miles of estimated range, with city driving range typically exceeding 100 miles without any tailpipe emissions.
Making sure the all-new 2013 Fiat 500e delivers world-class EV handling and braking performance, engineers designed a new chassis and suspension for the new EV powertrain, while further solidifying the engaging European driving dynamics the FIAT brand and Cinquecento are known for.
The all-new Fiat 500e pushes its iconic Italian design forward with its wind-tunnel-sculpted shape and retro-futuristic dot-matrix styled cues for a cutting-edge look. To achieve a 13 percent improvement in aerodynamics (0.311 coefficient of drag (Cd) compared to the 2013 Fiat 500 Lounge’s 0.359 Cd), the Fiat 500e features eight exterior enhancements and more than 140 hours of wind tunnel testing and refinement. The result is a purposeful design that enables this Cinquecento to achieve an additional five miles of range.
Inside, 2013 Fiat 500e fuses retro-futuristic design with unique EV technology elements for an environment comprised of simplicity with innovation. An all-new 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) instrument cluster displays full-color picture graphics to illustrate vehicle functions, charge levels and trip summary. In addition, a new TomTom Navigation unit enables the driver to view the vehicle’s charge schedule, range, and power-flow gauges, and can even request nearby charging stations with real-time availability. Below its instrument panel bezel, the 2013 Fiat 500e also includes an all-new electronic shifter with easy-to-use push-button transmission mode selection. For added style, the interior environment is available in Nero (black) or exclusive Steam (white), highlighted by Electric Orange to bring even more design character to this Cinquecento.
Keeping passengers of the Fiat 500e connected to vehicle information is an all-new Fiat 500e Smartphone App (compatible with iPhone and Android) that enables real-time vehicle status, manages charging, tracks the driver’s energy use, locates the vehicle and nearby charging stations, plans and sends routes to the vehicle and provides text-message alerts.
The all-new 2013 Fiat 500e arrives at FIAT Studios in California during the second quarter of 2013.