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Had the pleasure to taking a 500e for a short test drive yesterday.

The lack of anything happening when you turn the key is disconcerting at first. Because it still uses a turn-key instead of a push button, the natural instinct is to keep pressing the key in the expectation of hearing something firing that tells your brain to ease off. I anticipate FIAT having to replace a bunch of those ignitions under warranty.

The floor in back has been raised to the point of making the 500e pretty much a 2-seater with a decent sized cargo hold.

The car is extremely quiet and quite spunky; especially right off the line. I even burned a bit of rubber inadvertently giving it on a green light. The only thing you hear at street speeds is the noise of the tires rolling, and a very faint electric humm.

The overall feeling of the car is of substance, solidity, and fun to drive.

The "Studio Manager" Steve was telling me that they got a shipment of 5 and sold 4 w/o even a test drive. The one I had the privilege of driving was for a buyer who changed its mind when they saw the color. He had two other interested prospects coming to take a look at it that afternoon.

The dealer has a 2nd shipment coming that is totally sold, and he was taking deposits for the 3rd shipment. FIAT has not told them what their total allocation will be.

These cars are loaded with economic distortions: a $7,500 federal tax credit included in the lease; an additional $2,500 CA tax credit; reduced insurance rates due to the mere fact that these cars can't go very far, thus minimizing risk; $1,000-2,000 rebates from the utilities to buy and install a Stage 2 charger. All of this in addition of the reduced fuel costs and use of the carpool lane, so people can justify adding them to their households w/o impacting their finances.

Steve told me of a gentleman who drives a GMC Acadia: adding the 500e reduced his combined insurance cost, plus he will reduce his fuel costs.

The advertised lease is $199/month and $999 at signing; a Stage 2 charger costs $999 plus another grand for installation. Be prepared to walk out closer to $300/month by the time you get a car that already has navigation and a sunroof.

I was totally impressed. It would make a perfect addition for those with a college-bound kid or just in need of a second car.
 

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I agree. I wouldn't mind driving a snappy little FIAT 500e to/from work; on the other hand, I cannot get past the weird --some would say "hideous"-- looks of the Nissan LEAF.
 

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Aldo said:
I agree. I wouldn't mind driving a snappy little FIAT 500e to/from work; on the other hand, I cannot get past the weird --some would say "hideous"-- looks of the Nissan LEAF.
Boy, I agree! The need to create some alternate look because it's an EV doesn't make sense to me. That was a Corporate decision - and it didn't actually seem to be to accommodate anything special, they just chose that shape.

I'd get a kick out of test driving a 500e.

I'm not a fan of hybrids, per se, but have been interested in purpose-built EV's since I first saw the AMC Amitron (later Electron) in a Car magazine 1967-ish.
 

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Dave said:
Aldo, can you say more? We can run this is a regular review...
Let me see what more there was to it...

It comes with a funky pushbutton automatic transmission, which has a Fisher Price look to it, but works well enough. It has two pedals --including a brake pedal, unlike other EVs.

EV appears to be positioned at the top of the 500 lineup, with its unique lower fascia. There are only a handful of options, including a portable Tom-Tom GPS, a Sport appearance package, and a sunroof.
 

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JavelinAMX said:
Boy, I agree! The need to create some alternate look because it's an EV doesn't make sense to me. That was a Corporate decision - and it didn't actually seem to be to accommodate anything special, they just chose that shape.

I'd get a kick out of test driving a 500e.

I'm not a fan of hybrids, per se, but have been interested in purpose-built EV's since I first saw the AMC Amitron (later Electron) in a Car magazine 1967-ish.
Yeah, kind of a "Hey, look at me i bought an electric car!" Even though it looks like a dust buster vacuum cleaner.

I like the Ford approach. Other than a small badge on the rear end, it's a regular Fusion. Escape, Lincoln etc. And they're selling like hot cakes around here.
I much prefer the plug-in hybrid over a pure EV. My question with hybrids is what kind of fuel mileage do they get after the juice from the battery is gone. The mileage ratings i always see is some guesstimate of combined elec/gas driving.
Like, say i'm driving up to the cottage and the batteries are done before Bay City. What mileage does the gas engine then get for the next 3 hrs cuz i'm not stoppin to charge the thing 2 or 3 times to get to T.C. Owning a 2nd vehicle to go out of town makes no sense to me.
 

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The gas engine is often used to not only put a charge on the batteries but also help propel the car - that is why you see these "hybrid guesstimates" - the point of a hybrid being that you aren't stranded because of a low or dead propulsion battery. I don't believe there is a hybrid that runs on one OR the other, it's always some form of "both."

Of course, someone else is encouraged to enlighten me if I'm off base here.
 

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Stratuscaster said:
The gas engine is often used to not only put a charge on the batteries but also help propel the car - that is why you see these "hybrid guesstimates" - the point of a hybrid being that you aren't stranded because of a low or dead propulsion battery. I don't believe there is a hybrid that runs on one OR the other, it's always some form of "both."

Of course, someone else is encouraged to enlighten me if I'm off base here.
I pretty sure you are correct, otherwise it's not technically a Hybrid, it then becomes an all electric, or plug-in,
There is a plug-in hybrid, but that's pretty much an oxymoron, marketing term.
 

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Correct, hybrids rely on both motors for propulsion.

Plug-In hybrids can run on pure EV mode when fully charged, and then switch to hybrid mode when it runs out of juice. The problem with Plug-In hybrids is that you have to pay a STEEP price premium to get an additional 14 miles of driving on the electric motor.

The Volt is an Extended-Range EV: meaning the gas engine is there to generate electricity for the electric motor, not to run on both motors like a hybrid.
 

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But...in the case of the Volt, that gas engine DOES - at times - assist in running the drive wheels. Recall that there was a big uproar about that, because initially GM claimed that only the electric motor propelled the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I don't recall. Hmmm...I guess the uproar didn't make it across the Rockies... :)
 

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Stratuscaster said:
But...in the case of the Volt, that gas engine DOES - at times - assist in running the drive wheels. Recall that there was a big uproar about that, because initially GM claimed that only the electric motor propelled the car.
Really?
I never heard that either. I'm still under the impression that the Volt gas engine is a range extender and it runs 100% upon the electric motor?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ha...well, there you have it. Sneaky GM...
 

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