Can a minuscule electric car still find success in the US? We’re about to discover! Fiat has announced its plans to reintroduce the 500e hatchback EV to the American market in 2024, priced at $32,500 ($34,095 with the destination fee). This model hasn’t been available in the US since 2019, but the upcoming version represents a significant upgrade, featuring an extended range, enhanced interior, improved technology, and more.
The 500e is notably compact compared to other EVs, especially in terms of weight. Tipping the scales at just 3,000 pounds, it earns the distinction of being labeled by Stellantis as “the lightest passenger BEV in the segment.” This stands as a welcome departure from larger electric SUVs and pickups that can weigh twice as much, although potential buyers might express concerns about its petite size in terms of safety.
The relatively modest weight of the vehicle is attributed to its compact 42 kWh battery pack, facilitating a maximum range of 149 miles. Given its moderate maximum DC charging rate of 85 kW, providing an 80 percent range in 35 minutes, the Fiat 500e is likely to be predominantly utilized as a city commuter. On a positive note, the Fiat 500e’s price includes a Level 2 home charger from Fiat’s Free2Move subsidiary (Fiat is part of the Stellantis group, which also owns Jeep, Chrysler, Citroen, etc.).
Equipped with 117 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, the vehicle accelerates from 0 to 60 MPH in 8.5 seconds—a leisurely pace, but suitable for urban commuting. Recognizing the focus on preserving charge, the Fiat 500e offers three progressively assertive driving modes: Normal, Range, and Sherpa.
The interior represents a notable improvement over the plasticky design of the 2019 Fiat 500e. Although Fiat has showcased concept interiors with crossover designs from Armani, Bulgari, and Kartell, it remains unclear if these will be available in the US. Nevertheless, the vehicle features a 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen supporting Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a wireless smartphone charging pad, a 7-inch digital gauge display, and more. Adding a touch of charm, the low-speed exterior audio alert, mandatory on all EVs, features custom classical music composed by Italian artists.
Upon seeing the $34,095 price tag, one might compare it to the Volvo EX30, which shares a similar price but offers 275 miles of range and more spacious interiors. It also exceeds the price of Tesla’s Model 3, currently priced at $28,490 after US federal tax credits (uncertain if the 500e qualifies for these credits, though it appears unlikely).
Fiat aims to attract young or urban buyers with the charming design and advanced technological features. Instead of a conventional mass-marketing approach, Fiat plans to employ a strategy of periodically releasing special versions, available for a limited time, according to Car and Driver. The vehicle is scheduled to be available at dealerships from early next year.