All-Electric Fiat Debuts at LA Auto Show
Fiat yesterday unveiled an all-electric version of its iconic 500 subcompact at the LA Auto Show. The 500e, every bit as cute as the gas-powered Fiat 500, will use a 24 kilowatt-hour liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack, providing an estimated 80 miles of range under typical driving conditions. Fiat claims that range jumps to 100 miles if used solely for city driving. The electric 500 is expected to deliver an estimated 116 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) in the city and 100 MPGe highway.
Power is delivered via a 111-horsepower 83-kilowatt electric motor. The 500e can be full recharged—from depleted to completely full—in about 4 hours when using 240v through its on-board 6.6-kilowatt charger.
The exterior design of the 500e features unique 15-inch alloy wheels, new exterior color options (including “electric orange”), aerodynamic enhancements and an available eSport package with blacked-out trim and other sporty touches. On the inside, the 500E gets a 7-inch display and optional TomTom navigation (with locations to nearby charging stations). Fiat is also offering a smartphone app unique to the 500e.
It appears that Fiat is aiming for familiarity and accessibility, evidenced by the company employing a "creep" feature that launches the car as soon as the brake pedal is released, just like a vehicle powered by an idling engine.
The 2013 Fiat 500E is widely considered a “compliance” vehicle that will be manufactured solely to meet California's zero-emissions vehicle mandate. It goes on sale, only in California, sometime in 2013.
Fiat has not yet announced the 500e's price. GM recently announced that the somewhat comparable Chevy Spark EV will retail for $32,500. Fiat’s pricing is expected to be in the same neighborhood. The segment of electric subcompacts, which includes the Mitsubishi i and Smart Electric Drive, has until now not proven very popular. But Fiat 500e brings a new level of pizzazz and charisma to the small EV market.
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