Can a super tiny electric car still work in the US? We'll soon find out! Fiat will soon start selling the 500e hatchback EV stateside in 2024 for $32,500 ($34,095 including the destination fee), the company announced. It hasn't been available in the US since 2019, but the latest model is a big update with more range, a nicer interior, better tech and more.
The 500e is tiny by EV standards, particularly in the weight department. It puts just 3,000 pounds onto the pavement, making it what Stellantis calls "the lightest passenger BEV in the segment." It's a refreshing change from larger electric SUVs and pickups that can weigh double that, though potential buyers may find its tiny size a detriment, safety-wise.
A big reason for that lack of heft is the relatively small 42 kWh battery pack that allows for a maximum 149 mile range. Considering the relatively slow maximum DC charging rate of 85 kW (giving you 80 percent range in 35 minutes), that means it's likely to be used mainly as a city runabout. On the plus side, the price of the Fiat 500e includes a Level 2 home charger from Fiat's Free2Move subsidiary (Fiat is part of Stellantis group which also owns Jeep, Chrysler, Citroen, etc.).
With 117 horsepower and 162 pound feet of torque on tap, it goes from 0 to 60 MPH in 8.5 seconds — leisurely, but fine for a city runner. Users will no doubt focus more on preserving charge, so it offers three increasingly aggressive modes: Normal, Range and Sherpa.
The interior is nicer than the plasticky one from the 500e sold back in 2019. So far, Fiat has only shown some concept interiors with crossover designs from Armani, Bulgari and Kartell, though it's not clear if those will actually be sold in the US. In any case, it does come with a 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with a wireless smartphone charging pad, 7-inch digital gauge display and more. One fun touch is that the low-speed exterior audio alert (required on all EVs), is custom classical music created by Italian composers.
My first thought when I saw the $34,095 price tag was "hey that's the same price as the Volvo EX30!" which has 275 miles of range and a lot more room. It's also a lot more than Tesla's Model 3, which is $28,490 after US federal tax credits (it's not clear if the 500e will qualify for those credits, but it doesn't seem likely).
However, Fiat is no doubt hoping to attract young or urban buyers with the adorable design and high-tech features. And instead of mass-marketing the car, it's using a strategy of "dropping" special versions at regular intervals and making them available for a limited time, according to Car and Driver. It's set to hit dealerships starting early next year.
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-tiny-fiat-500e-is-coming-to-the-us-in-early-2024-094754049.html?src=rss