Fiat has launched their long-promised electric car, roughly on schedule. According to Chrysler engineering chief Scott Kunselman, speaking in 2010, the Fiat 500e was engineered primarily in Auburn Hills, presumably using a team of Chrysler and Fiat people along with key vendors.
Fiat estimates the 500e will get a 116 mile per gallon equivalent (MPGe), city, and 100 MPGe highway. It has a 111 horsepower (83kW) motor, and 147 lb.-ft. (200 N•m) of peak torque, all of which is available at tip-in. That compares favorably to the standard Fiat 500 gasoline powertrain, though the standard 500 is also lighter.
The Fiat 500e mimics gasoline-powered cars with a “creep” feature, which launches the car as soon as its brake pedal is released, like a car powered by an idling engine; it also uses the “braking” generators to simulate gas-car coasting.
The high-voltage battery is in the floor, and includes power management system to adjust current, cell voltage, and operating temperature; it has an eight year warranty (the motor has a four year warranty). The thermal management system maintains optimal operating temperatures to increase range and cut recharging times (under four hours with its 240-volt on-board charging module, and 24 hours via the 120-volt unit, when fully depleted).
The car has the usual graphic information/entertainment screen and the 7-inch customizable gauge cluster also used in the Dodge Dart and Ram 1500. In addition, a free app (iPhone and Android) mirrors the instrument cluster, with state-of-charge, range, and estimated time to full recharge. Other screens deliver charge-status updates, if the vehicle is plugged in, and the ability to schedule charging when rates are lowest; and it provides remote access to the vehicle’s climate-control system, tire-pressure updates, and the ability to lock and unlock the car’s doors — and to honk the horn remotely.
For more details and many more photos, see Allpar’s Fiat 500e page.