The Irony of the Fiat 500e

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The first Fiat 500 Elettra concept car was unveiled back in 2010 during the North American International Auto Show. Its maker Chrysler, announced that it would build these compact electric vehicles for the United States and would be formally known as the 500e. It is to the carmaker, a vehicle it did not want to build in the first place.

The very first Fiat 500e was offered to the public last November 2012 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, with the first deliveries already made in the first few months of 2013. The motor of the Fiat 500e is a 111 horsepower or 83 kW rated permanent magnet three phase electric motor with a synchronous drivetrain with an ability to produce 147 lb-ft of torque. The power comes from a 24 kWh rated lithium ion battery pack that has its own internal liquid cooling/heating system. With this, the range is at eighty miles or 130 kilometers, with city driving range up to a hundred miles. Full charge can be achieved in less than four hours using the electric vehicle’s 240 volt on board charging module.

The Environmental Protection Agency has rated the vehicle at 87 miles or 140 kilometers and has a combined fuel economy of 116 miles per gallon for city driving, while on the highway fuel economy is rated at 108 miles per gallon.

According to Consumer Reports, the Fiat 500e is one compact but powerful vehicle that is easy to drive. Its reviewers had praised it by saying “It was clear that Chrysler engineers didn’t just phone this one in. They actually sweated the details and came up with an EV that’s fun and appealing.”

The designers had termed the design inspiration as ‘retro-futuristic’ and this was translated into all aspects of the vehicle. For the exterior, the basic Fiat 500 was modified to have a more aerodynamic bumper shields for both the front and the rear. Also modified were the side sill and the door mirrors with a liftgate spoiler to help in directing airflow for the three door hatchback.  For the interiors, the 500e has a seven inch thin film transistor display that provides information on charge/power, driving range, and other useful information found in its Electronic Vehicle Information Center. This new system utilizes pictographs in order to illustrate vehicular functions. All this information is accessible from your smartphone through an app.

For a car that a car giant didn’t want to make, the details make the Fiat 500e worth a second look.