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2019 FIAT 500e Overview
The FIAT 500e is an all-electric version of the regular 500, introduced for 2014 to the California and Oregon markets. It’s distinguished from its gasoline-powered counterpart by a unique grille, in either dark gray or white, special ground effects, and distinct wheels. Inside, you’ll find a unique instrument cluster and a set of push-button gear selectors in place of the normal gear lever. It doesn’t give up the regular 500’s rear seats, but they are best suited to children and short adults.
Under the sheet metal of every 500e sits an 111-horsepower electric motor tied to the front wheels, and 24 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. It’s rated for 84 miles of driving range and 112 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), though with the regenerative braking, FIAT claims that drivers will exceed 100 miles of range between recharges in city use. It takes a bit less than 4 hours to bring the 500e to a full state of charge, using the 6.6 kW on-board charging module and a 220-volt Level 2 charger. It does not support Level 3 public DC fast-charging. Performance is pretty lackluster for an EV, at 8.4 seconds to 60 miles per hour and a top speed of 88 miles per hour.
FIAT offers the 500e as one well-equipped model. Standard features include 15-inch wheels, halogen projector headlights, fog lights, navigation, keyless entry, a security alarm, leatherette upholstery, driver-seat memory, a 50/50 split-folding seat, and a 5.0-inch infotainment system. The only available add-on is a power sunroof.
The 500e comes bundled with the barest of safety technology: airbags, a reversing camera, and reversing sensors. The 500e has not been crash tested; however the similar 500 was tested in 2017 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It managed a poor small-front overlap score, but good scores in all other categories.
FIAT’s 500e is the cutest, cleanest-looking EV on the market. However, its performance and practicality fall short for most people. The Hyundai Ioniq and Nissan Leaf manage at least 125 and 150 miles, respectively, between charges and cost thousands less. They are also larger, with greater levels of comfort, technology, performance, and safety. The 500e is best used as an urban runabout for short distances, where its small footprint is an advantage for parking. So if you have need for such a vehicle--and if you happen to live in California or Oregon–it might be worth a look.
Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.
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