Fiat 500e Review: A Cute EV With Range To Leave The City Behind

the fiat 500e is priced at around £20,000, depending on the government incentive. as tested the car… [+] costs £30,132

It may look like the Fiat 500 we all know and love, but this is so much more than just a facelift. No parts are carried over from the previous model, which means that the chassis, bodywork and interior are completely new. and so is the transmission, which is now fully electric. there is no internal combustion version at all, though its gasoline predecessor will remain on sale for now, due to its perennial popularity.

Reading: Fiat 500 electric car review

but such a drastic change doesn’t mean an unrecognizable visual overhaul. Instead, the new Fiat 500e retains all the charm of the previous model (and the 1957 original, of course) but is much more adult. literally in some cases, as the new car is 61mm longer, 56mm wider and 29mm taller than before, but it’s still a compact front-wheel drive city car with an airy cabin up front and really subtle seats for children in the back.

Inside, the interior retains the organic feel of before, but gets modern refinement in the form of a large 10.25-inch touchscreen displaying the iconic trim level, along with a driver’s instrument display from 7 inches. Fiat has cleverly retained the physical buttons for climate control, and the two-spoke steering wheel has a retro feel. Rear-seat passenger legroom is tight, as it always has been in the Fiat 500, but strangely (at least in this right-hand drive car) the driver also has little left leg room. not a deal breaker, just proof of how compact the 500e is.

Fiat currently has no plans to sell the electric 500e in the US. uu.

there are few cars more comfortable around town than the fiat 500, and with the 500e this is even more the case. the simplicity of electric drivetrains make city and town driving easy.

and while the fiat’s performance is nothing to write home about – the run to 60 mph is completed in a majestic 9.0 seconds – even in the most powerful model tested here – the dynamic offline performance makes be easy to pull out of junctions and roll with the cuts and pushes of busy city roads.

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That said, I think the 500e’s throttle calibration could be better, especially in range mode that allows for one-pedal driving.

I’m often very impressed with how electric car manufacturers perfectly judge how much power the accelerator requires with each millimeter of movement, and how smoothly the regenerative braking system brings them to a stop. But Fiat hasn’t hit the nail on the head, especially when drag is disabled (as you would on a normal automatic). The 500e pulls off the line a bit awkwardly when trying to pull off smoothly, then applies the parking brake with an aggressive touch when brought to a stop.

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updated interior features optional 10.25-inch touchscreen with wireless apple carplay … [+] and android auto

These are very small issues to point out, and I don’t want to get too deep into the point, but since all electric cars feel pretty much the same, manufacturers need to get the basics right. For the 500e it feels like Fiat has missed the target slightly. That said, it’s probably something buyers will get used to over time.

The rest of the driving experience is excellent. For its first electric generation, the 500 is much more mature than its previous incarnation. It’s a car that feels as serene in the city as it does on the highway, with road and wind noise under control at low and medium speeds, and a comfortable drive that doesn’t become tiring, even on longer journeys. it’s a smooth ride; One that smooths out the bumps but doesn’t offer much in the way of sportiness. And you know what? that’s absolutely fine. this is no upgraded abarth 500 so comfort and compliance are the name of the game.

Being equipped with the larger battery, I thought I’d put the 500e’s 300km range and 85kw fast charging to the test, with a 265mile journey from london to the northern lake district England. This is the kind of trip an EV with a claimed range of almost 200 miles should be able to do without causing a headache, and while it would probably take a charge or two each way, I left London full of confidence.

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bigger than its predecessor, the 500e retains the same good looks

cruising the city early on a Saturday morning was a piece of cake, and the fiat was right at home in the narrow streets. This particular model was equipped with the larger 42kwh battery, a motor that produced 118 horsepower, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen with wireless apple carplay and android auto, plus wireless charging and a host of charging features. driver assistance. All in all, in icon specs it’s a very well equipped car, but that’s the way it should be as the car I drove is priced at £30,132 ($41,300 tax included).

the base 500e has a small 24 kWh battery, 95 horsepower (compared to 118 hp for the larger battery), and an actual range of about 100 miles.

london cleared out without a hitch, i headed north to warwick services, a new service station equipped with 12 ultra-fast chargers, plus 12 tesla superchargers. I went online, punched in my bank card, headed to breakfast, and came back with the battery at 90% capacity.

a couple of hours later and it was time to recharge the battery again. The Fiat’s own navigation system isn’t helpful here, as while it lists nearby chargers, it doesn’t show how fast these chargers are, or whether they’re currently available or busy.

I used google maps and the zap map apps on my iphone to find a polar charger at a co-op gas station, but only after the charger I was originally looking for was fully booked when I got there, nowhere to be found. to park and wait.

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unfortunately, of the two chargers offered, one was busy and the other was broken. a call to the helpline failed to remedy the situation and the other EV driver was nowhere to be seen, even though his battery was now full and no longer charging.

refreshed interior looks great, but rear-seat passenger space remains minimal

a quick look at my phone found another charger at a nearby shell station, which worked perfectly.

The journey wasn’t ideal, but with a little advance planning (knowing warwick services) and a backup plan (in the form of central station), I arrived at my destination with a useful 30 per cent left. he also knew that a grocery store half a mile away had six quick chargers to fill up before heading home.

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This was an experiment showing that electric cars, even smaller ones better suited to urban driving like the Fiat, can be used for longer journeys, but for now they are still at the mercy of the unpredictable public. cargo net.

Getting back to the car itself, I couldn’t help but love the 500e. It looks and feels like a huge improvement over the previous model, and the electric drivetrain is a great fit (throttle calibration in range mode notwithstanding).

In addition to the one-pedal range option, there are two other drive modes to choose from, with Sherpa dropping the top speed and turning off the air conditioning, and Normal sitting somewhere in between, where regenerative braking is minimal when driving. slips but increases when the brake pedal is applied. it brakes harder and conventional discs are also used.

the 500e can be purchased with wireless apple carplay and android auto

ultimately, the fiat 500e is a very hard car not to like. It has a lot of character and retains all the best features of its predecessor, although it is electric, slightly larger and with an improved interior. All of that has also earned the car a higher price tag, and I’m sure the thought of a £30,000 Fiat 500 will be uncomfortable for some, but electric drivetrains remain inherently expensive for now.

It’s not perfect: The one-pedal drive mode needs some tweaking, and the small rear seats just won’t work for some buyers. But if he already has his heart set on a Fiat 500, the 500e is everything he hoped it would be. With the bigger battery pack and some plans for longer trips, it might even be your only car, something the similarly sized Mini Electric and Honda E, with their 100-mile ranges, can’t claim.

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