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Chrysler’s first electric car: Fiat 500e

by David Zatz on


Fiat 500e

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.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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