2015 FIAT 500e Review

Pros & Cons

  • Impressive cruising range
  • recharges quickly at 240-volt outlets
  • quicker acceleration than the base gasoline-powered 500
  • fun to drive for an electric car.
  • Battery pack and associated hardware consume valuable rear legroom and cargo space
  • cramped front headroom with sunroof
  • sales limited to California and Oregon.
Other years
List Price Estimate
$7,173 - $9,855

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The all-electric version of Fiat's 500 hatchback is well suited to city dwellers and presents a charismatic, high-style alternative to many of today's electric cars.

Vehicle overview

In congested areas, having a small maneuverable car that can dice through city traffic and be parked in spots most every other car must pass up helps make life a lot easier. Having an all-electric small car that never requires a visit to a gas station can be almost liberating. And we find the 2015 Fiat 500e, the electric-powered version of the gasoline-powered 500 subcompact, liberating on several fronts.

Sure, you have to be prepared to make some adjustments, the primary one being that the Fiat 500e can take you only so far before you must recharge it. But you've probably already taken that factor into consideration if you're contemplating a battery-powered car.

For almost all urban uses, the 2015 Fiat 500e's 87 miles of combined city/highway driving range is more than you'll probably need in a day. Plug it in at home or at one of the proliferating public-charging stations and a depleted battery pack can be fully recharged in as little as four hours using a 240-volt outlet. So the 500e's "hassle factor" is comparatively low.

There are plenty of compelling arguments for going electric, but maybe the best justification is what a hoot the 500e is to drive. The 500e sticks tenaciously around corners and the power delivery characteristics of an electric motor means it generates peak torque immediately when you hit the pedal, so acceleration is delightfully eager. The 500e is quicker than the gasoline-engine Fiat 500, in fact.

Downsides? There are a few, the first being that the 500e is available for sale only in California and Oregon. Also, the 500 already is a smallish car but becomes even more cramped inside in the "e" because of the conversion to battery electric propulsion. The two rear seats, already marginal in the standard 500, become all but vestigial in the 500e. And yes, somewhere between 80 and 100 miles is the limit to how far you can travel at one time, although Fiat has a generous program for 500e buyers that pays for the rental of a larger vehicle several times a year for those times when a subcompact, range-limited electric car just won't do.

There's now a surprisingly rich herd of affordable all-electric cars, and particularly if you don't live in California or Oregon, you're going to need alternatives to the 2015 Fiat 500e. The 2015 Nissan Leaf has similar driving range and has a markedly larger cabin. Ditto for the Ford Focus Electric, though, like the Leaf, its performance isn't as satisfying as the 500e's. The Chevrolet Spark EV also has pleasing performance, but its long recharging times (almost twice as long as the 500e's) could inhibit its usefulness for some owners. The all-new 2015 Kia Soul EV is another promising contender.

Yet for many, an electric vehicle is earmarked to lower the cost and hassle of commuting or to be a second or third around-town car in a busy household. For those purposes, we think the combination of above-average driving range, entertaining performance and quick recharging make the Edmunds.com "B" rated 2015 Fiat 500e a fine choice.

2015 FIAT 500e models

The 2015 Fiat 500e is a two-door subcompact hatchback that's sold in a single, well-equipped trim level. It shares most of its bodywork with the standard gasoline-powered Fiat 500, but has its own specific front and rear body panels, wider side sills, smooth underbody components, a rear spoiler and 500e-specific 15-inch alloy wheels. The 500e's altered bodywork was designed to optimize the car's aerodynamics, which helps to boost that all-important driving range.

Standard features for the 500e include heated side mirrors, automatic climate control, full power accessories, cruise control, manually adjustable heated front seats with driver-side height adjustment, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-adjustable steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and 50/50 split-folding rear seats. The standard electronics array includes rear parking sensors, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a removable handheld TomTom navigation system (with a 4.3-inch touchscreen that attaches to the 500e's dash) and a six-speaker Alpine audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, USB/iPod integration and an auxiliary audio jack.

The only options are a sunroof and the e-Sport appearance package for the 500e's exterior. That package includes darkened exterior lamp bezels, orange exterior trim pieces and orange-accented wheels for a more customized look.

2015 Highlights

For 2015, the battery-powered Fiat 500e has a redesigned center console and two new available colors.

Performance & mpg

The 2015 Fiat 500e has an 83-kilowatt electric motor that develops 111 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque, channeled to the front wheels through a single-speed automatic transmission. The electricity for the motor comes from a 24 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.

During Edmunds testing, the 500e went from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, a quick time for an EV in this price range.

Determining "fuel economy" for an EV is markedly different than for conventional vehicles. According to the EPA, the Fiat 500e needs 29 kWh of electricity for 100 miles of driving (the lower the kWh number, the better here). That amount of energy efficiency is right in line with that of the Chevy Spark EV and Nissan Leaf.

Combined city/highway driving range for the 500e is an EPA-estimated 87 miles, better than the similarly sized Spark EV's 82 miles, Ford Focus Electric's 76 miles and Nissan Leaf's 84 miles. Fiat claims city-only driving should easily yield 100 miles or more of driving range; our best range during testing was about 109 miles.

Fiat says the 500e can fully recharge in four hours on a 240-volt outlet, an estimate confirmed in our testing. That's as quick as a Leaf with its optional 6.6-kW charger, but a bit longer than the Focus Electric. If your only available circuit is standard 120-volt household current, charging time increases considerably.

Safety

The 2015 Fiat 500e comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag and active front head restraints. Rear parking sensors also are standard, and a warning sound is emitted at low speeds to warn pedestrians of the near-silent 500e's presence.

In Edmunds testing the 500e came to a stop from 60 mph in 129 feet, which is average for small EVs.

Driving

An electric motor can provide its full torque as soon as you ask for it (gasoline engines have to build up their engine rpm to achieve their maximum torque and power), so just as with other EVs, the 500e accelerates briskly from a standstill. It also pulls steadily to higher speeds, although the acceleration noticeably tapers off as speeds approach the 500e's 85 mph maximum. All EVs are quiet, but the 500e's aerodynamic upgrades and a host of other sound-reducing measures make for an impressively tranquil cabin, even if you're moving at highway speed. The energy-saving regenerative braking feels pretty normal, essentially devoid of the somewhat grabby feel that many EVs' brakes exhibit.

Compared with other electric cars in this price range, the Fiat 500e stands apart for its sporty handling and fun-to-drive character. The electric power steering makes the dense little Fiat 500e feel nimble and quick to respond; tight parking or hitting a gap in traffic is a cinch. Careful packaging of its heavy battery pack allows the 2015 Fiat 500e to run around corners with the same kind of eagerness that's won the conventionally powered 500 such regard. While cruising straight down highways, the generally light steering takes on more "weight," providing a confident, reassuring feel rather uncommon with such a small car.

Interior

It's a cheerful place inside the 500e, where airy orange accents set off either white or black as the primary interior color. We wish the plastics looked and felt a little better, though, and that trim panels were fit with more precision. However, these conditions are no different from the conventionally powered Fiat 500.

An inviting 7-inch circular instrument cluster is standard for the 500e, and its primary focus is on EV-specific data such as driving range, energy use and the battery pack's state of charge. Also provided are basic operational information such as speed and gear selection, as well as phone connection status. There are numerous ways in which to arrange the display to suit your preference.

There's ample room in the front seats for taller occupants, thanks somewhat to the noticeably high seat cushions, which optimizes legroom. Be advised that the optional sunroof drastically cuts into your headroom, though. And because the battery pack and other electronics are situated rearward, rear seat legroom is pretty much nonexistent.

Luggage and cargo space also take a hit. With the rear seatbacks up, the 500e provides 7.0 cubic feet of space (down from 9.5 cubic feet in the regular 500) and 26.3 cubic feet with the seats folded (down from 30.2 cubes). Nonetheless, the 500e's cargo area compares reasonably well with the larger Leaf, which offers 30 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats down.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2015 FIAT 500e.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Just drive it
SJ Mathews,10/20/2015
Battery Electric 2dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Great commuter car, also a total blast to city drive. Regenerative brakes are sweet and seem better than conventional, great acceleration, amazing that they make vehicles like this. The only real downside I noted (aside from a limited range) is that going uphill really drains the batteries fast shortening the range. That aside, it is really roomy in the front, the back clearly not popular with most. You buy the EV that suits your needs- as we were looking at a commuter car, this was by far the best choice. Update- three years later, no problems whatsoever.
nice commuter car, but not for a family
tsaue,06/18/2018
Battery Electric 2dr Hatchback (electric DD)
If you're single and need something to get from A to B and happen to live in the city with access to a charging station either at home or near a chargepoint (where you have to pay) then this may be the car for you. I am a leasee of this and plan to drive it and give it back at the end of my 3 year stint, but I will have to say that you have to make compromises with this car. PROS/CONS as they come to me. Small, can park anywhere, stable up to about 80mph on highway, with the seats folded down you can fit a wide variety of items. If you have small kids, the back seat is great, if you are tall and an average sized adult you may have a lot of problems. You also can not carry a golf club bag in the back if you have those seats occupied, maybe just one 3 people in the car and have one seat folded down. Charging at 32A which is the max rated for this car will take about 3.5 hours to charge to full which isn't bad. I use this car to travel back and forth to work at around 35mi away, you can barely make it back. If had to take detours you may be stretching it. I've also noticed that the battery is degrading after driving it hard for about 1 year. If you plan to drive this for longer than 5 years you may not be able to reach the rated 80mi on a single charge. Be prepared to stop or have that charging card ready. With all the short comings, I do enjoy my drive in the car, but with all the SUVs out there if god forbid you get into an accident, you may get out alive, cause there's not many crumple zones. I would highly recommend this car in city situations, but probably look towards volt or battery capable car to get you places. I think my next car will be a bolt because 200mi range is the sweet spot and calms my range anxiety. Cause you know, sometimes you just gotta go far. Many folks will need to have a backup gas car to go further places, but this may be a good interim car. I have no idea why but the insurance on this thing is SUPER expensive in CA, and parts are as well. Factor that in if you ever do get into an accident. Remember guys and gals, EVs are still new and in a few years time you're going to see a lot of choices. My recommendation is to get this car if you need to tie you over or just save up and bye our friend's Elon's brand. Thanks for reading.
Quirky but Cute EV
Mikel,01/15/2016
Battery Electric 2dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Lease terms are great when combined with rebates from California State and Central Valley. Car is a hoot to drive: fast and responsive with great handling. It also is cute and sophisticated looking. Range is about 100 miles in the relatively flat Central Valley. This car works great as a city commuter and carries our shopping purchases easily in the "trunk" and the extra space made by folding down the rear seats. We are family of two "empty nesters" so although this car is an addition to our gas engine vehicles (bought to complement our newly installed solar array on the rooftop), it has become the favorite car to use. Front seats are fine but rear seats are a bit cramped. Controls are "interesting," reflecting Italian design!! The integrated info system in 2016 is a bit improvement over previous models. In addition, the interior white/black color scheme is practical but classy. We have had no problem in the city or on the highway. Beware that this car does not allow Level 3 charging so expect to wait a bit longer for it to charge with Level 2 at public charing stations or a lot longer with the Level 1 charger that comes with the car.
Fiat 500e is really fun driving machine
FLJeff,02/13/2017
Battery Electric 2dr Hatchback (electric DD)
I purchased a used low mileage 2015 Fiat 500e a couple of months ago and was so impressed with how it handles that I purchased another for my sister. These cars are a real steal on the used car market. I live in South Florida where it is warm and flat and generally have been getting over 100 miles of range (EPA 87). A Fiat 500 in general is not the most practical car but if you want something really fun to drive, this is it. This car handles very similar to my former Mini Cooper but without the gas. UPDATE: I'm still very happy with my Fiat 500e after more than two and half years of ownership. Additionally, I have had excellent service from the Fiat Dealership (Arrigo) in West Palm Beach, when I have brought the car in for some minor items and software updates which were covered under Warranty.

More about the 2015 FIAT 500e

Used 2015 FIAT 500e Overview

The Used 2015 FIAT 500e is offered in the following submodels: 500e Hatchback. Available styles include Battery Electric 2dr Hatchback (electric DD). The Used 2015 FIAT 500e comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 1-speed direct drive. The Used 2015 FIAT 500e comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2015 FIAT 500e?

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Which used 2015 FIAT 500es are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2015 FIAT 500es you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used FIAT 500e for sale - 1 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $23,458.

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Find a used certified pre-owned FIAT for sale - 4 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $18,498.

Should I lease or buy a 2015 FIAT 500e?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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