2013 Fiat 500e price threatens the Nissan Leaf (Video)
First, the basic pricing details for the 2013 Fiat 500e. The manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) is $32,500 and that includes a destination charge of $700. For comparison, the Nissan Leaf has a base price of $29,650 and the Ford Focus Electric starts at $39,995 so the 500e is slightly more expensive (based only on MSRP) than the Leaf while being significantly less expensive than the Focus Electric. Also, when you factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit, the $2,500 California credit (the 500e is only being sold in California at launch) and various company rebates – those who apply to all will only pay around $20,500 for the Fiat 500e. Granted, both the Leaf and Focus Electric are also subject to the $7,500 federal tax credit but when you factor in all of the discounts available for the 500e at launch, this will likely be the least expensive EV on the market.
For those who do not want to buy the 2013 Fiat 500e outright, the Chrysler Group has a very attractive leasing program that may put the electric Fiat more comfortably within the budget of many EV shoppers. The 500e is available on a 36 month lease program and those who pay $999 up front can drive the electric Fiat for 3 years at the rate of just $199 per month. That is the same monthly lease price as the gasoline powered base model Fiat 500 Pop. Also, $199 is the same lease price as the Nissan Leaf buy Leaf leasers have to pay an extra grand up front so in the long run, the 500e is the better leasing deal.
“With unique Italian style, industry-best highway MPGe rating and class-leading combined driving range, we know we have a great car in our hands,” said Tim Kuniskis former Head of FIAT Brand North America. “Now our task is to simplify the customer’s experience and make sure that people know how easy and affordable it can be to own our electric Cinquecento.”
In addition to being as affordable as any of the available full electric vehicles in the United States, the new Fiat 500e is one of the most efficient. The 500e boasts an electric mile per gallon equivalent of 108MPGe on the highway and 122 around town so compared to the Ford Focus Electric (99/110) and the Nissan Leaf (102/130), the 500e is the most efficient EV around town while giving a slight advantage to the Leaf. More importantly to many, the Fiat 500e offers an EPA range of 87 miles on a single charge – a greater range than any other high volume EV in America. The Leaf offers an EPA range of 75 miles while the Focus Electric will go 76 miles on a single charge.
As an extra bonus and a bit of added value to the Fiat 500e, the Chrysler Group has partnered with the Enterprise rental car agency for the Fiat 500e Pass program. This allows 500e owners to get 12 free days worth of rental cars from Enterprise during the first three years of ownership in case they need to do some driving that will exceed the capabilities of the electric Fiat. This means that 500e owners can plan long driving trips without worrying about range or charging while on that trip by getting a free rental car for 12 days each year. Also, considering the low line vehicles typically rented by Enterprise, this program will likely allow 500e owners to appreciate their cars that much more once they are out of the rental car.
“This innovative idea from the FIAT brand and Enterprise Holdings will provide purchasers of a new 500e with the opportunity to enjoy the exciting characteristics of this all-electric vehicle while giving them a flexible alternative in case they want to drive beyond the vehicle’s range,” said Kuniskis. “By addressing upfront the concerns and anxiety consumers may have about purchasing an electric vehicle, we are helping to make it easy and convenient to purchase or lease a Fiat 500e in the state of California.”
The Fiat 500e will go on sale later this summer but at launch – the electric Fiat will only be available in California. Some believe that strong sales could encourage Chrysler to offer the 500e in other areas where electric vehicle sales are high but when you consider the fact that company CEO Sergio Marchionne has stated in the past that they are only offering an EV because they basically have to and that the company will lose around $10,000 on each unit sold – the 500e could be limited to just California for the foreseeable future.