The 2024 Fiat 500e marks the return of an EV that its maker once asked Americans not to buy. Fiat certainly thought the timing wasn’t right for that original 500e, but the timing of the new version, which is scheduled to arrive in early 2024, seems impeccable.
The first Fiat 500e was sold only in California and Oregon, and was built purely to satisfy California’s zero-emission vehicle mandate. Early EV enthusiasts liked it, thanks to an affordable price and retro styling carried over from a concurrent gasoline 500 model. But Sergio Marchionne, then head of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (the predecessor of current Fiat parent Stellantis), said the company lost money on each car and once declared that he hoped customers didn’t buy it.
Things are different this time. First shown in 2021 and already on sale in Europe, the new 500e is still a modern interpretation of the classic 1950s Fiat 500. But instead of being a converted gasoline car, it was designed from the ground up as an EV. And Fiat isn’t just building this version to satisfy regulators. It’s not even doing a gasoline version this time around.
While larger than the previous-generation 500, which was last sold in the U.S. in 2019 in gasoline form, the 2024 500e is still a small car. And with a curb weight of 2,952 pounds in launch spec, it’s among the lightest EVs on sale, Fiat notes. That’s less than the similarly tiny Mini Cooper SE, and it’s refreshing given the trend toward ever-heavier electric trucks and SUVs. Think of this as the anti-Hummer EV.
A single electric motor sends 118 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels, which will propel the 500e to a blazing top speed of 94 mph. A 42-kilowatt-hour battery pack provides an estimated 149 miles of range. A Combined Charging Standard (CCS) connector allows for DC fast charging at up to 85 kilowatts, enough for an 80% charge in 35 minutes. A full charge using a Level 2 AC home charge takes four hours and 15 minutes.
The 500e gets the expected tech features, but nothing more. A standard 10.25-inch touchscreen runs the same Uconnect 5 infotainment system as other Stellantis models, along with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Amazon Alexa features. Basic driver-assist features like automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist are standard as well.
Fiat will launch the 500e in a single “(RED Edition)” spec in partnership with (RED), the AIDS charity co-founded by U2 front man Bono. It’s priced at $34,095. Other variants will be launched periodically as limited releases, similar to fashion product drops. Fiat also plans to take at least some of the buying process online, while still retaining its traditional franchised dealer network.
The new 500e arrives at a time when small, affordable EVs are few and far between. It will certainly stand out from the rest of Stellantis’ planned North American EV lineup, which consists of a Ram pickup truck, Dodge muscle car, and some Jeep SUVs. So while the original 500e may have been ahead of its time, this new version arrives not a moment too soon.
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