2013 Fiat 500e: 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show

2013 Fiat 500e: 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show

2012 Los Angeles Auto Show

2012 Los Angeles Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • The 2013 Fiat 500e battery-electric car promises 80-mile overall range and 100 miles of city driving range.
  • With 111 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque from its electric drive motor, the 500e hits 60 mph in 9 seconds.
  • The lithium-ion batteries charge fully in less than 4 hours on a Level II 240-volt charger.

LOS ANGELES — Unveiling the all-electric 2013 500e at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show here, Fiat said it wants its first production electric vehicle to be "a mainstream application for the brand." Sales begin in California only during the second quarter of next year, with plans to sell the 500e in additional states later.

The 500e's 111-horsepower/147 pound-feet permanent-magnet electric motor can shove the two-seater to 60 mph in about 9 seconds, Fiat says. Top speed is 85 mph. The car's liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack is produced and was developed by a joint venture between Bosch and Samsung SDI, although that joint venture has been dissolved, with Bosch taking over the operation.

The 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack can be fully recharged in as little as 4 hours with a 240-volt Level II charger, but the mass of batteries brings the 500e to a porky 2,980 pounds, nearly 550 pounds heavier than a conventional automatic-transmission Fiat 500.

The showcar's delicious Electric Orange tri-coat paint is a production color, Fiat sources said, while the orange motif carries over to accent the blazingly upbeat interior that's highlighted by a prominent push-button drive selector for the car's single-speed transmission. Three different exterior appearance packages include the e-Sport and its toughened-up black-out treatments and orange-tipped 15-inch alloys.

Fiat engineers said the 500e was developed with an intent to retain the standard 500's sharp handling characteristics despite the added weight. Special attention also was paid to optimizing aerodynamics, and the 500e's drag coefficient of 0.311 is 13 percent better than the standard 500's 0.359, which results in an additional 5 miles of driving range.

Engineers also said the 500e's regenerative-braking characteristic was developed to heavily recoup deceleration energy, but promise the car will have a much more natural accelerator lift-off feel than we've experienced with other small EVs designed with aggressive regenerative-braking strategies.

The 500e will use its mechanical friction brakes only at speeds of 8 mph or less, though, so we'll reserve judgment about the natural feel of lifting off the accelerator at moderate to high speeds until the car hits the road in the middle of next year.

Edmunds says: With Chrysler backing off its former electrification plans, Fiat takes the first step with the 2013 500e.

Leave a Comment

New Car Buying Guides

See which cars and trucks our editors recommend