- The 500e is coming back to the U.S. in 2024 with 149 miles of range
- Fiat’s tiny EV is good for 118 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque
- Expected to be available in showrooms starting in the first quarter of 2024
- Kicks off the second generation 500e last seen in 2019
Pint-Size 2024 Fiat 500e Rebooted With Big Updates
Max range won't win over EV doubters, however
The Fiat 500e was last on sale in the U.S. for the 2019 model year. The Mexican-made 500e was effectively a compliance car, sold exclusively in California and Oregon to help earn clean energy credits for the company that was then called Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Since the 500e's death in the States, FCA has become Stellantis, and the brand announced that the 500e is coming back to the U.S. in the first part of 2024.
Bringing the 500e back to the States is as interesting as it is surprising. It didn't sell in huge numbers and its limited electric range limited its appeal, too. However, the European version of the fully electric Fiat 500 received a huge makeover in 2020. The new car was, well, new from the ground up and designed from the start to be a fully electric 500. The result was a design that marries the 500's cutesy throwback proportions with modern design and a load of modern tech. It's also ever-so-slightly longer, wider, and features a longer wheelbase than the car that came before it, meaning space might not be at the same premium that it was in the previous 500.
It may be hard to believe, but this button-sized car is Stellantis' first battery electric vehicle (BEV) in the U.S. Ciao bella.
What's under the 500e's hood?
While the 500e is available in a number of body styles and battery sizes in Europe, the 500e will only be sold in one configuration: a two-door hatchback with a 42-kWh battery pack and a single motor mounted at the front axle. The motor produces 118 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, and even though these figures are higher than the old 500e, the new version is expected to be slightly slower. Fiat quotes a 0-60 mph time of 8.5 seconds, and we managed 8.2 seconds in the last-gen electric hatchback.
The 2024 500e's battery pack is significantly larger than previously, but EV doubters surely won't be convinced by the Fiat's estimated 149 miles of range. The electrical system's maximum charging rate of 85 kW is similarly merely acceptable, though the modest size of the pack means you can charge to 80% capacity in just 35 minutes.
How's the 500e's interior?
Fiat bestowed the 500e with a fresh interior space that's a far cry from the plastic-heavy surroundings of the previous car's cabin. The Italian brand is counting on enthusiasts to recognize the interior shapes and details from the original 1957 Fiat 500, and that nostalgic integration may inspire longtime fans to give the 500e another try. Designers added space to the console and door panels, a welcome update to the total storage.
Preconditioning enables the owner to set heating and air-conditioning preferences before driving off, a nice amenity for those in colder and warmer climates.
How's the 500e's tech?
The new 500e is tech-packed, with standard safety systems including lane keeping assistance and automatic emergency braking. There is a 7-inch digital instrument cluster as well as a 10.25-inch infotainment display that rests atop the dashboard. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a wireless charging mat are all highlights on a relatively long list of standard tech features. "Hey Fiat" wakes up the voice assistant through Amazon Alexa.
The most interesting tech, by far, is surely the Acoustic Vehicle Alert System, which has been programmed to "sing" a warning to pedestrians with a specific song called "The sound of 500" written by an Italian composer.
Bonus: Fiat is throwing in a home charger box system or charge credits through Free2Move with the purchase of a 500e. No cannoli or gelato, though.
What are the 500e's trim levels?
The U.S.-spec Fiat 500e will launch in the (RED) Edition trim, which includes red painted exterior mirrors, LED headlights, front grille details and dashboard. It sits on Goodyear summer tires or Pirelli all-seasons wrapped around 17-inch glossy black cast aluminum wheels.
If the (RED) label sounds familiar, it’s because rock star and U2 frontman Bono founded an organization of the same name with Bobby Shriver (son of the Peace Corps founder R. Sargent Shriver) in 2006 to fight AIDS. Bono was on hand for the video launch of the 500e.
The Fiat 500 has long been a fan favorite, with a light, agile driving experience. As an EV, and especially at this price, we expect it to outsell the 2019 version by a long shot.