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Fiat's Electric Car: the 500e

Updated on May 11, 2013

Its rather odd. The Fiat 500 is cute, small and sold well in Europe. When Fiat saved Chrysler, Fiat returned to the American market. Hasn't been here since the mid 80's. The 500 gas model is a dog, it is slower than slow when attempting to get on the highway. Its Abarth version, with 160 hp is much better in acceleration.

The reason why Fiat did not want to build an electric version of the 500 is that it is bad business. The car is ONLY available in California for now, it costs $32,000 versus $16,000 for the gas model and Fiat actually loses $10K per 500e sold. You say WTF? Well, so does Fiat. They never wanted to make a "green" car.

Somehow, by making the 500 an electric, actually made it better according to reviewers. Better handling, better zippiness like a Mustang!, better weight distribution, better braking due to the regenerative braking. Weird.

The 500e looks like all the 500's. Its a mini-car that can hold four. Among all the "e" cars out there, it gets the best MPG rated at 122(city)\108(hwy) with a range of almost 90 miles before charging with 240v. The electric motor provides 111 hp, weighs 3000 lbs and goes 0-60 in 9 seconds. The gas model has only 101 hp. For some reason, the car zips from 0-30 much quicker than most electrics but slows later. It has 15" wheels and the regenerative brakes create electricity. The car has a 8-yr. warranty on the battery and a 4-yr. warranty on the motor.

The car has a single speed tranny and is front-wheel drive. The car can be plugged in at home.

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