Up Close With the 2024 Fiat 500e
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Up Close With the 2024 Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e side view
  • The 2024 Fiat 500e showcases a unique, round-bodied design akin to a “Skittle on wheels.” Notable features include stylish headlights, Italian flag-inspired indicators, and a 10.25-inch touch screen.
  • With modest specs and a starting price of $34,095, the Fiat 500e targets budget-conscious buyers, offering lease incentives up to $7,500.
  • Fiat’s tailored features, such as the largest available battery and standard touch screen, aim to appeal to American buyers. Future plans could include convertible and high-performance variants, signaling a gradual expansion into the EV market.

Close your eyes and picture a Skittle on wheels. It probably looks cute and delicious, and it probably looks something like the 2024 Fiat 500e.

This bite-sized electric vehicle is the latest product from parent company Stellantis and its new attempt to crack the U.S. market with an EV for the masses. Its numbers are meager — 118 horsepower and 149 miles of range — but its adorability factor is high.


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Fiat sold a previous version of the 500e in the U.S. up until 2019. But that was only in select states, mostly California, and it was a gas-powered design converted for battery-electric power. The new Fiat 500 electric version is a brand-new generation that was designed as an EV from the ground up and has been selling in global markets for several years.

Fiat hopes that will entice U.S. buyers to give the 500e another shot.


An In-Person Look at the Fiat 500e

This past Wednesday, I got to see the new 500e up close. In a trendy Los Angeles storage facility Fiat brought two vehicles, a red one and a black one, and let journalists poke around inside.

Unsurprisingly, the 500e is bubbly in person. It has an exaggeratedly round body and squat little stance, highlighted by 17-inch wheels. The front end wants to look sinister and intimidating, with squinting headlights and a grille-less resting bitter face.

But it’s no use. The shape is too cute. I especially liked the fog lights with a floating body-color panel and the winged turn-signal indicators with an Italian tricolored flag. Simply bella.


Fiat 500e Range

The hard realities of the car won’t be so easy to forgive, I’m afraid. In the U.S., many will take one look at the estimated range figure of 149 miles, or the 0-60 mph acceleration of 8.5 seconds, and turn up their noses up in a huff. Years of boastful proclamations from automakers have conditioned us to expect 300 miles of range and drag-race pulls that would embarrass a surface-to-air missile as baseline requirements.

The 500e won’t be for everyone. But it does serve an important segment of the market: buyers prioritizing an affordable electric car. The Fiat 500e price is $34,095 including the destination fee, so the 500e is one of the most budget-friendly EVs you can buy. Fiat is also teasing generous lease incentives (it estimates at least half of 500e sales will be leases) that could net up to $7,500 in total incentives. That’s helpful because the 500e, built in a production facility in Turin, Italy, isn’t eligible for federal rebates that are restricted to cars made in North America.

There are other benefits, too. The purchase of a 500e also comes with one of two choices: a Level 2 wall-charging unit or credits that can be used at public charging stations. (Early orders have shown a 70% take rate for the wall unit.) And the 42-kWh battery has an 84-kWh converter to help with fast charging. That helps the battery add 80% of charge in just 30 minutes under ideal conditions.


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Is the Fiat 500e a Good EV?

No one is claiming the 500e is the perfect vehicle for all EV shoppers. This is a two-door city car with limited cargo space and a miniscule backseat. The front seats don’t even fold forward much, making rear-seat entry some combination of hopscotch and aerial aerobics.

But it does provide practical transportation for low-mileage commuters at a reasonable price (the average amount financed for a new car is over $40,000, according to Edmunds) and including built-in incentives.


And honestly, the U.S. version of the 2024 Fiat 500e has specs designed with American buyers in mind. While global versions of the EV come with smaller batteries and fewer frills, all U.S.-bound 500e models are equipped with the largest battery available and a standard 10.25-inch center touch screen operating on Stellantis’ latest software, called UConnect 5.

Fiat is also hinting at future versions to come, which could include a soft-top “cabriolet” convertible or a high-performance 500e Abarth. Expect to see some kind of fashion partnership as well, though the company is apparently moving on from its former deal with one Italian powerhouse after the hot-selling — but objectively gaudy — Fiat 500 Gucci from the early 2010s.

Bubbling with personality and Italian to the core, the latest Fiat EV should find a warm reception in the U.S. market in the coming months. This car won’t create a groundswell of adoption, but it does have a chance to win hearts and convince doubters that electric vehicles can be style-forward. That’s an important mission as Fiat and Stellantis seek to build inroads here as major players in the EV market.

One Skittle at a time.


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IMAGES: RYAN ZUMMALLEN

FTC: We use income-earning auto affiliate links. Learn more.

AUTHOR: 

RYAN ZUMMALLEN

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