Skip to main content

Fiat’s 500e returns as a stylish and affordable small EV

Front three quarter view of a 2024 Fiat 500e.
Fiat

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E first drive review: Electric muscle
2021 ford mustang mach e review front three quarter

For its first serious attempt at a mass-market electric car, Ford decided to launch a crossover SUV inspired by one of its most iconic models, the Mustang.

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E will likely prove controversial with traditional fans, who are used to Mustangs having only two doors, with V8 engines under the hood. While the original Mustang is a stereotypical muscle car with decades of history, the Mach-E takes its place in a growing field of electric crossovers, competing with the Tesla Model Y and the upcoming Volkswagen ID.4 and Nissan Ariya.

Read more
Audi’s Q4 Sportback E-Tron will have customizable LED headlamps, 279-mile range
2020 Audi Q4 Sportback E-Tron concept

Audi's plan to launch more than 20 electric cars globally by 2025 is definitely ambitious, but it's also realistic, and the models that will help it achieve its goal are gradually coming to light. One is a close-to-production concept named the Q4 Sportback E-Tron that's closely related to the Q4 E-Tron introduced at the 2019 edition of the Geneva Auto Show.

Normally, I would have been able to enjoy an in-person look at the Q4 Sportback E-Tron during an auto show -- but shows in Geneva, Detroit, New York, and even Paris were canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The unveiling took place online, which is the new norm, and Audi design boss Marc Lichte tuned in to digitally present the concept.
What's a Sportback?

Read more
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E will offer Active Drive Assist hands-free driving tech
Ford Active Drive Assist

Ford is serious about making the 2021 Mustang Mach-E its most tech-forward vehicle to date. The electric crossover will inaugurate a technology named Active Drive Assist that will allow drivers to safely and legally take both hands off the steering wheel when the right conditions are met. It won't turn the Mach-E into an autonomous car, however.

Bundled into a suite of electronic driving aids named Co-Pilot360, Active Drive Assist is an evolution of adaptive cruise control with lane-centering designed to take over on divided highways. The system relies on cameras, radars, and sensors to scope out the road ahead, but Ford's approach to the technology is similar to Cadillac's because it only works on pre-mapped highways. This safety-first solution ensures the car knows exactly where there's a bend or a hill, but it also means motorists won't be able to use Active Drive Assist if they're traveling on a road that the technology doesn't know. Ford already mapped over 100,000 miles of highways in all 50 states and in Canada.

Read more