The 2018 Fiat 500e is the battery-powered companion to the Fiat 500 range and is sold in very small numbers in California and Oregon.
Our sister-site, Green Car Reports, called the 500e a “compliance car,” which means Fiat only sells it to meet those states’ requirements for sales of zero-emission vehicles.
The 2018 Fiat 500e scores higher than the 2018 Fiat 500 for three reasons. First, we’ve withheld a safety score because the low-scoring 500 and 500e aren’t directly comparable. Second, the 500e is all-electric and aces our mileage test. And lastly, the 500e is more fun to drive thanks to added weight in the right place. The 2018 Fiat 500e earns a 5.8 on our overall scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
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The 500e borrows its looks from the 500, which borrows its looks from the Italian post-war icon. It’s a modern interpretation of a classic, and a good one by our eyes. The 500e doesn’t stray far from the 500 but gets its own front and rear bumpers, door side sills, and badges. The interior is cute without being kitsch, although its materials can feel hard and plasticky.
The 500e draws motivation from an 83-kilowatt (111-horsepower) electric motor and 24-kwh battery. Its range is rated at 84 miles by the EPA, but at city speeds the 500e could improve on that number.
The 500e also may be the most fun 500 to drive, according to us. The batteries add more than 500 pounds to the overall weight, and the increased mass sits low in the car. That leaves the 500e feeling more planted, less top-heavy, and somewhat brighter. A single-speed transmission provides nearly effortless thrust, and it’s entertaining—albeit 84 miles at a time.
A standard 6.6-kw onboard charger is the best feature on the 500e and cuts charging time down to four hours on a Level 2 plug, though DC fast charging is not available. The rest of the 500e is fairly mono-spec: 15-inch wheels, power features, air conditioning, synthetic leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 5.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment. Like the 500, the 500e doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay compatibility, which we think is an oversight.