2013 Fiat 500e Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 13, 2012
FAST FACTS
  • Pure electric drivetrain
  • New steering, suspension and braking components
  • Upgraded vehicle architecture
  • Improved aerodynamics
  • Estimated 80-mile range
  • Recharges in 4 hours using 240-volt quick-charger

Introduction

The 2013 Fiat 500e is an electric car that is estimated to travel as far as 80 miles before requiring a recharge. It is based upon the 2013 Fiat 500, a 4-passenger, 3-door, micro-compact hatchback, but Fiat doesn't simply swap in an electric motor and a battery pack. There's more to the new 500e than meets the eye.

Exterior Features

Speaking of what meets the eye, the 2013 Fiat 500e is set apart from the rest of the Fiat 500 lineup with a choice between "Steam" and "Nero" exterior color schemes. The 500e Steam is equipped with white exterior trim, while the 500e Nero is offered with a mix of black and body-color exterior trim.

In addition to the unique approach to color and trim, the 2013 500e model receives more aerodynamic bodywork to reduce the standard model's 0.36 coefficient of drag down to 0.31 cd. The result is 5 extra miles of range, according to Fiat. In addition to modified styling, new side mirrors, and a rear spoiler, the 500e is equipped with underbody belly pans and flush-design 15-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in low-rolling-resistance tires.

The slippery body modifications are attached to an updated vehicle structure designed to handle the heavier electric drivetrain and its Lithium-ion battery pack. Fiat says the 500e's weight distribution is more favorable than the standard model, at 57/43 front to rear.

Interior Features

The electrified Fiat 500e includes a Thin Film Transistor (TFT) gauge display with a color vehicle information screen, a set of push buttons installed where the gear selector is normally located, and Arancio Elettrico (orange) cabin accents.

Otherwise, the 2013 Fiat 500e is outfitted much like a well-equipped 500 model. Automatic climate control is standard, along with Bluetooth connectivity with music streaming, cloth seats equipped with leatherette bolsters, portable navigation system, and a premium audio system with a USB port, iPod connection, auxiliary audio input jack, and satellite radio.

Optional Features

Optional upgrades for the new 2013 Fiat 500e include a power glass sunroof, heated front seats, and an e-Sport package including unique black and orange exterior detailing.

Under the Hood

The Fiat 500e is equipped with a 24 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack, 111-horsepower electric motor that provides 147 lb.-ft. of torque, and a single-speed transmission. With a Level Two quick-charge upgrade, which uses a 240-volt power outlet, the 500e can be topped off in 4 hours. Using the standard power cord and a 120-volt household power outlet, recharging time takes 24 hours.

In terms of performance, Fiat claims that the 500e accelerates to 60 mph in 9 seconds, estimates that it can travel 80 miles between charges, and says the car should receive a 116 MPGe rating from the EPA. The company says it elected to forego an Eco mode in this model, preferring to retain more enthusiastic drivetrain response in exchange for a few miles of extra range.

In addition to the electric drivetrain, the new Fiat 500e is equipped with a stiffer suspension, 4-wheel-disc regenerative braking system, and new electric steering with road crown compensation and crosswind stabilization features.

Safety

In addition to 7 standard air bags, a traction and stability control system, anti-lock brakes, and a hill-start assist system, the Fiat 500e includes rear park-assist sensors. An audible pedestrian warning system is also standard, emitting a warning to nearby pedestrians when the car is traveling at speeds under 20 mph.

Technology

To make the Fiat 500e feel a little bit more like a conventionally powered car, engineers designed the single-speed transmission to provide a little bit of "creep" as the driver releases the brake pedal at an intersection or in traffic.

The Fiat 500e includes a 3-year free subscription to a Fiat Access smartphone application that helps to find nearby charging stations, and which allows the driver to check vehicle status remotely, program charging times, pre-condition the cabin prior to driving the car, and more.

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

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