If you're ready to make the switch to an electric car, the Fiat 500e is a great way to do it. The battery-powered 500e has all the personality and character of the gasoline-powered Fiat 500. It offers a competitive range of 84 miles and quick charging times. Unfortunately, if you live outside of California or Oregon, there's not much point in reading further. The 500e is only sold in those two states.
For the most part, everything we like about the Fiat 500 carries over to the electric version, and then some. The interior is a love-it-or-hate-it affair, but you can't accuse the 500e of being a shrinking violet, given its quirky dashboard shapes, (optional) bright colors and push-button transmission.
The 500e is good fun to drive. In fact, its 83-kilowatt electric motor, providing 111 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque, is actually quicker than the gas-powered Fiat 500. We clocked a zero-to-60-mph time of 8.2 seconds, which is equal to the sporty 500 Turbo, though it's not as quick as some other electric cars. The 24-kWh lithium-ion battery provides 84 miles of range, which is a bit less than other small electric cars. It's fairly efficient, too, with an EPA mpg equivalent rating of 112 miles combined (121 city/103 highway).
The 500e's steering feels heavy on-center, especially at low speeds, but it seems to wake up in the curves, and the steering system is more responsive than that of the gasoline-powered 500. Compare it to other electric cars, and there's no contest: The 500e is one of the most entertaining electrics on the road.
Unfortunately, most of our complaints about the gasoline-powered 500 carry over to the electric version, topped by some electric-specific shortcomings.
While the 500e treats its front-seat passengers nicely, with supportive seats and rather simple adjustments, the backseat is nearly useless for anyone other than small kids. And even they might have a difficult time wriggling back there. Also, the ride isn't as smooth as you'll find in the gasoline-powered 500: The 500e pitches and bucks on its short wheelbase. Finally, most electric cars have a regenerative mode that provides extra braking from the motor and also serves to charge the battery. The Fiat 500e doesn't have such a mode, and we wish it did.
Fiat sells the 500e in a single trim level, with an optional eSport package that livens up the already lively styling. Let Edmunds help find the perfect 2017 Fiat 500e for you.
The Fiat 500e is an electric-powered version of the Fiat 500 hatchback and represents a stylish entry in the growing electric-car 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, the actual purchase price of a new Fiat 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 Fiat 500e is an appealing choice for an electric car. For the moment, you'll need to dwell in California if you want to buy one, as Fiat has not announced plans to sell the 500e outside the Golden State.
Current Fiat 500e
The Fiat 500e is a 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 24kWh lithium-ion battery. The EPA gives the Fiat 500e an energy consumption estimate of 29 kWh per 100 miles (the lower the kWh number, the better here), which translates to MPGe figures of 116 MPGe combined (122 city/108 highway). Estimated range is a livable 87 miles, according to the EPA. The 500e can fully recharge in less than 4 hours on a 240-volt outlet. However, if you have to plug into a 120-volt circuit (like a regular household plug) estimated charging time shoots up to "less than 24 hours."
A single, well-equipped trim level is offered. Standard features include keyless ignition and entry, automatic climate control, cruise control, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, split-folding rear seats, rear parking sensors, 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 Fiat 500e gathers speed briskly, though acceleration drops off considerably once you reach highway speeds. Despite being much heavier than the standard 500, its more powerful electric powertrain hustles the 500e 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.
The 500e's eye-catching aerodynamic enhancements not only reduce drag, but they help make it 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 car less fun to toss around corners than the regular 500. The Fiat 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 Fiat 500e debuted in 2013 and hasn't received any significant changes.