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2013 Fiat 500e Emphasizes Clean, Green Fun

2013 Fiat 500e Emphasizes Clean, Green Fun

By Jeff Youngs, November 28, 2012
Fiat did not want to build another boring electric car with the 2013 Fiat 500e, which debuted at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. "Our objective was to make the full potential and excitement of the e-powertrain immediately available and apparent to 500e customers," says Bob Lee, vice president and head of Engine and Electrified Propulsion Engineering--Chrysler Group LLC.

Lee refers to the Fiat 500e's electric powertrain, comprised of an electric motor generating 111 horsepower and 147 lb.-ft. of torque, 24 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack, and a single-speed transmission that incorporates a "creep" feature designed to mimic a conventional gasoline engine. Unlike some electric vehicles, the new 2013 Fiat 500e does not offer an Eco button, which Fiat claims would "deaden throttle response for a marginal increase in range."

Yet, despite an emphasis on delivering a fun-to-drive electric car, the new 500e is estimated to provide an 80-mile range on a full charge, and to get 116 MPGe. Fiat says it takes 24 hours to recharge a fully depleted battery using a standard 120-volt household power outlet. Connect to a 240-volt quick-charge outlet, and the battery can be replenished in 4 hours, according to Fiat.

To prepare the Fiat 500e for its electric powertrain, the car receives a redesigned body structure with a 10% improvement in bending stiffness and better weight distribution than the standard car (57/43 compared to 64/36). Additionally, the Fiat 500e is equipped with a re-engineered suspension, sport-tuned steering with road crown and crosswind compensation features, and a 4-wheel-disc regenerative braking system with brake assist. Stability control, traction control, and hill-start assist are also standard.

To help maximize vehicle range, and to set the 500e apart from other Fiat 500 models, the electrified version receives improved aerodynamics in the form of revised styling, new side mirrors, belly pans under the vehicle, liftgate-mounted rear spoiler, and an exclusive 15-inch flush wheel design with low-rolling-resistance tires. Fiat claims the changes produce a 13% improvement in aerodynamics, from 0.36 cd to 0.31 cd. The result, according to the automaker, is five extra miles of range.

Inside, the new Fiat 500e gets a new 7-inch TFT display screen behind the steering wheel, new full-color vehicle information center, and a new push-button transmission selector on the dashboard. A 500e smartphone app with 3 years of service includes vehicle status reports, remote vehicle charging, remote vehicle pre-conditioning, charging station directory, and more.

Standard equipment includes heated leatherette and cloth seats, Bluetooth connectivity with a USB port, 276-watt Alpine premium sound system with satellite radio, Tom Tom navigation system with a removable 4.3-inch touch-screen display, and automatic climate control. The trunk contains a cargo organizer and a tire inflator kit. Safety features include 7 air bags, traction control, stability control, rear park-assist sensors, and an audible pedestrian warning system.

Like other Fiat 500 models, the new 500e is offered in a variety of exterior and interior color combinations. An optional e-Sport package with blacked out interior and exterior trim, staggered-width aluminum wheels, and Electric Orange accents is also available.

2013 Fiat 500 Summary, Specs & Photos
2012 Fiat 500 Ratings
Fiat Ratings

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