The Fiat 500e is probably not the car that first came to mind when you saw “Best Electric Car of 2013,” but the car has gotten great reviews and is certainly cute. The ironic and unfortunate thing is that the 500e is a definite “compliance car,” only being produced because of California’s automobile requirements (and Fiat’s obvious desire to be in the California market).
The Fiat 500e is a car I have yet to test drive or even see in the wild, but it has gotten consistently great reviews and I do think it is a cute (or sexy) car. And Road & Track editors loved it enough to put it on the magazine’s first “Best Cars” list.
Chrysler Group “must like having big fun on the clock, because this thing will chirp its tires and lay elevens all day,” R&T editors said about the Fiat 500e.
The Fiat 500e, which sold out fast and can be leased for as low as $199/month (if the dealers go with the sales pitch), reportedly has great acceleration while also scoring the best fuel efficiency in its class, 116 MPGe.
Here’s more on the Fiat 500e from a press release about the new award:
Engineered as a no-compromise EV, it features a unique “blended” braking strategy that affords the coasting experience associated with conventionally powered vehicles, along with the benefits regenerative braking brings to battery recharging.
In most cases, the Fiat 500e uses 100% of its regenerative braking capability all the way down to 8 mph. This maximizes the vehicle’s efficiency, while enabling longer brake life.
A unique lower-body structure provides packaging and protection for the 2014 Fiat 500e’s 24-kWh battery, while providing a 10 percent improvement in bending stiffness.
In a significant boost to handling, the battery’s position redistributes the 500e’s front-to-rear weight ratio. It is 57:43, compared with 64:36 for the conventionally powered Cinquecento.
The result is a tighter and stiffer feel and better control at higher speeds – all of which contribute to added driver confidence.
The 2014 Fiat 500e pushes its iconic Italian design forward with a shape sculpted in the wind tunnel. The car achieves a 0.311 coeffient of drag (Cd), which is 13 percent better than the Fiat 500 Lounge’s 0.359.
The 500e’s dot-matrix exterior styling theme is reprised inside, where retro-futuristic design fuses with unique EV technology elements such as a uniquely designed electronic shifter with easy-to-use push-button transmission mode selection.
The 500e’s cutting-edge 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) instrument cluster displays full-color picture graphics to illustrate vehicle functions, charge levels and trip information. In addition, an EV-specific TomTom Navigation unit enables the driver to view the vehicle’s charge schedule, range, and power-flow gauges, and can even locate nearby charging stations, showing real-time availability.
The Fiat Access smartphone app (compatible with iPhone and Android) further enhances the ownership experience, offering three years of connected services to manage charging via remote, track a driver’s energy use, locate the vehicle and nearby charging stations, while providing provides text-message and email alerts.
I guess we can thank California for this one, and Fiat for at least creating a nice electric car, even if it doesn’t intend to produce and sell more than a few hundred of them.
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