The Fiat 500e is Electric and Sexy
Fiat has officially unveiled after years of anticipating the electric version of its 500. Will it deliver the fun?
I’ve been covering the electrification of the 500 for a few years now, ever since when a few years back Nice swapped out the 500’s combustion innards for an electric drivetrain. The result is very interesting. Fiat is coming in late into the electric car field. Many have already made their mark but Fiat holds a Joker card, it’s recognizable shape and that Italian appeal that is so rightly captured with the modernize styling of the 500.
Eco-Chic, Eco-Sexy. When it comes to eco, there is chic and there is techie, but Fiat is here to say that a car can be techie, eco-friendly and also sexy. Leave it to the Italians to turn four wheels into an object of desire, oozing sexiness. In many ways, the 500 did what the Mini failed to do, especially with its later versions. The original Mini was all about big on the inside, small on the outside, but the new 4 wheel drive, 4 doors iteration would be better called a Maxi. Strangely enough, even the Fiat 500L, it’s larger and “Luxury” version still manages to keep its proportions correct, while offering more interior room. Fiat has successfully recaptured the original 500 feel but the Abarth raises the level of performance from cute to downright salivating.
The 500e Is Here At Last. The presentation was exactly what you would expect from Fiat. Well done, with the right hints of sexiness, plenty of red, a lot of flair and of course that Italian car passion thing. So how does Fiat differentiates its electric 500 from the run of the mill other electric cars? Simply by pointing out that we mostly have a choice between performance at a price, think Tesla or range, think CODA. However, rarely does a car strike the performance to sexiness ratio. This is where Fiat wants its 500e to shine. In many ways, it achieves just that, the almost perfect balance between style, sex appeal and dynamic character.
Technically Speaking. Dressed in its Electrico Arancione orange color, the contrasting lower white fascia, Fiat calls "dot matrix" is the only thing that will give it away. Aerodynamically, the car has been streamlined for less drag, giving it a 13% improvement over its traditional gasoline version, which means a coefficient of drag of just .31. All of this is powered by a 111hp electric motor that delivers a respectful 147 lb-ft of torque. The 500e uses a 24 kWh battery pack good enough for an estimated range of "more than 80 miles", according to the company. Using 15-inch Firehawk GT low-rolling resistance tires, Fiat believes the EV should deliver in typical city driving more than 100 miles. The rating so far have been estimated at about 116 miles per gallon equivalent, MPGe. The time it takes to charge it on a 240V outlet should be less than 4 hours. There is an iPhone and Android app that will keep you, and the TomTom navigation system can provide EV-friendly routes.
As you can see from the video, Fiat is eager to make sure you don’t get lost and confused with its growing offering of 500. From the base model to the convertible, the 500e is Fiat’s first all-electric cars and show how this company has clawed its way out of decades of a downward spiral. The 500e shows how far Fiat has come, from answering the original quality skepticism when it came back to the new continent to this electric version.
What Quality Problems? When we think of Fiats, we usually remember the shoddy quality years of the 80s. In all fairness, today’s Fiats are nothing like those cars that would sometime work, most other time needing some repairs. Modern Fiats are not only reliable but have show they can hold their own in a world led by German engineering and Japanese mass-production. And anyway, short of Mercedes, not too many made reliable cars in the 80s.
Fiat certainly is playing the passion card, and it should rightfully do so. The company was able to not only recoup the charismatic signature the original 500 with its Riviera charm but also successfully translate it into a modern car. The electric version, Fiat’s 500e is something I eagerly wait to test drive next.