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.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.