The Fiat 500e is an electric-powered version of the 500 hatchback and represents a stylish entry in the growing electric-vehicle field. While the 500e's price is considerably higher than that of the standard 500, Fiat has tried to build value into it, making most of the regular-grade 500's optional features standard and dressing up the body with aerodynamic enhancements. Plus, when you add up all the possible federal, state and local tax incentives for electric vehicles, the actual purchase price of a new 500e gets closer to that of a comparably equipped gasoline Fiat 500.
One other major drawback involves the packaging of the battery and electrical systems, which gobbles up rear seat and cargo space and leaves the 500e with one of the smallest rear seats in existence. Even so, the 500e is an appealing choice for an EV. For the moment, you'll need to dwell in California if you want to buy this diminutive EV, as Fiat has not announced plans to sell the 500e outside the Golden State.
Current Fiat 500e
The 500e is an all-electric subcompact two-door hatchback with front wheels powered by an 83-kilowatt electric motor generating 111 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque. Electricity is provided by a 24-kWh lithium-ion battery. The EPA gives the 500e an energy consumption estimate of 30 kWh per 100 miles (the lower the kWh number, the better here), which translates to mpge figures of 112 mpge combined . Estimated range is a livable 84 miles, according to the EPA. The 500e can fully recharge in less than four hours on a 240-volt outlet. However, if your only plug-in option is a 120-volt circuit (like a regular household plug) estimated charging time shoots up to a vague "less than 24 hours."
Fiat offers a single, well-equipped trim level. Standard features include keyless ignition and entry, automatic climate control, cruise control, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, split-folding rear seats, and rear parking sensors. Also standard are a TomTom navigation system that can scan and request nearby charging stations in real time and a six-speaker Alpine audio system with satellite radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack. Compared to the gasoline-powered 500, the 500e wears unique front and rear fascias, wide side sills, smooth underbody panels, a rear spoiler and aero-engineered 15-inch wheels.
In reviews, we've found that thanks to the instantaneous torque of the electric motor, the 500e gathers speed briskly, though acceleration drops off considerably once you reach highway speeds. The electric motor makes a respectable 147 lb-ft of torque, but only 111 horsepower. Though it's much heavier than the standard 500, the 500e's more powerful electric powertrain hustles it to 60 mph in about 8 seconds. That's quicker than the gas-powered base 500 and similar to the acceleration of other similarly priced electric cars. Of course, if you want the quickest small Fiat and don't mind burning gas, the 500 Abarth is still the go-to choice.
The 500e's eye-catching aerodynamic enhancements not only reduce drag, but they help make this EV quiet at speed, too. Even the regenerative brakes feel very natural. The only major dynamic shortcoming is the 500e's overboosted steering, which offers little feedback and makes the 500e less fun to toss around corners than the regular 500 and some competitive electric cars. The 500e is otherwise enjoyable from behind the wheel thanks to its small dimensions, tightly tuned suspension and instant-on power.
Used Fiat 500e Models
The 500e debuted in 2013 and hasn't received any significant changes.
Read the most recent 2018 FIAT 500e review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used FIAT 500e page.