Fiat revives 500e electric model with improved range, updated style

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Sunday, May 19, 2024
Electric Fiat 500 returns with improved range and updated retro style
Fiat's 500e electric car has been revamped with a better range and updated retro style.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There's a new all-electric Fiat hitting showrooms: The 500e - which might sound familiar.

Fiat made many headlines back in 2013 when it brought out a 500e the first time, adapted from the regular 500. An adorable electric car, back when electric cars were just starting to trickle onto the market. It scooted along just fine, but had shortcomings, like only 84 miles of range.

"We're talking about a vehicle now that's been designed from the ground up to be fully electric. It's been out for four years now in Europe," said Aamir Ahmed, the head of Fiat North America.

The 2024 Fiat 500e looks similar to the previous 2013-2019 model, but also a bit different. The major difference is the driving range, now officially 149 miles per the EPA.

That's a significant increase, and the new Fiat can accept public DC quick charging, which the previous one never could. A new partner app called Free2move can help with finding and paying for a charge.

"Single sign-on, single source of payment. Any of the providers that we'll have on that application. A really easy way, a really customer-centric way, to drive your Fiat 500 and charge your Fiat 500," said Ahmed.

Newer technology arrives too, such as wireless Apple Car Play and wireless Android Auto, part of a new larger touchscreen infotainment system.

However, Fiat wisely stuck with a kind of retro-chic interior design for style points. The back seat is now larger, but not by much. It is for smaller passengers only, essentially.

The Fiat 500e has a base price of $32,500 before any federal or state incentives.

What about the range? The estimate of 149 miles is nearly double that of the earlier model's 84 miles. However, many new electric cars are coming on the market with a range of 250, 300, or 350 miles. Plus the ability to charge quickly while out on the road.

Well, the Fiat 500e is thought of as a city car in Europe. In fact, it could be thought of as an ideal city car, as many major European cities are restricting internal combustion vehicle access.

And that is its role in the United States now, because as Fiat points out, not everyone drives very far. Especially in California's major urban centers.

"The average round trip in Southern California is about 9.7 miles. I think San Francisco's roughly 12-13 miles. So from a daily use perspective you've got all the range you need," Ahmed noted.

So if you tend to stay around town, want to go electric, and would like to drive a four-wheeled fashion statement that's solidly in the category of cute, you're in luck: The Fiat EV is back.