Like all of us green-car aficionados, R&T appreciated the car's 87-mile single-charge range, adding that the 500e could regularly crest 100 miles between charges in city driving. But the publication was also big on the acceleration delivered by the car's 111-horsepower electric motor as well as its handling and regenerative-braking system, paying it the ultimate compliment by calling it "a no-compromise EV."
Fiat got some press this summer when it said it was able to get the monthly lease rate for the 500e down to $199, though that rate required either "dealer contribution" or for dealers to take the $1,500 the automaker gave to them for every car sold and pass it onto the customers. That situation led to some claims of false advertising. Fiat has maintained that it's selling all of the low-volume 500e's that it's making. Read Fiat's press release below and check out Autoblog's review of the car here.
Fiat 500e makes Road & Track's "Best Cars" list
Delivers "big fun," Road & Track editors say
Best-in-class single-charge range of 87 miles, with typical city range of 100+ miles and EPA city/highway fuel-economy rating of 116 MPGe
Unsurpassed frugality with EPA-estimated annual fuel-equivalent cost of $500
Superior handling and unique "blended braking" braking system
November 14, 2013 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Road & Track has named the 2014 Fiat 500e "Best Electric" in the publication's first-ever "Best Cars" list.
Chrysler Group "must like having big fun on the clock, because this thing will chirp its tires and lay elevens all day," R&T editors said today.
The breakthrough electric vehicle (EV) is indeed fun, also delivering class-leading efficiency with unparalleled style.
"It is deeply satisfying that Road & Track editors are so taken with the 500e," said Jason Stoicevich, Head of FIAT Brand for North America, Chrysler Group. "The combination of modern Italian style, sporty feel and a zero-emissions powertrain makes the 500e a truly unique proposition in the marketplace."
Road & Track's "The Best of Everything" feature hits newsstands Nov. 19.
The award is the latest in a recent string of honors accorded the 500e, having been named best electric vehicle by Spanish-language automotive radio show, Ruedas ESPN, and "top electric vehicle" in the Northwest Automotive Press Association's "Drive Revolution" green car competition.
Inspired by the celebrated Fiat 500 hatchback, the 500e was engineered by Chrysler Group – the global hub of electrification activity for Chrysler Group and Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A.
Its liquid-cooled/heated battery-electric powertrain produces 111-horsepower (83-kW) and boasts a best-in-class range rating of 87 miles on a single charge – which takes less than four hours using a Level 2 energy source (220 volts).
Typically, the 2014 Fiat 500e will deliver more than 100 miles of range in city driving.
Engineered as a no-compromise EV, it features a unique "blended" braking strategy that affords the coasting experience associated with conventionally powered vehicles, along with the benefits regenerative braking brings to battery recharging.
In most cases, the Fiat 500e uses 100% of its regenerative braking capability all the way down to 8 mph. This maximizes the vehicle's efficiency, while enabling longer brake life.
A unique lower-body structure provides packaging and protection for the 2014 Fiat 500e's 24-kWh battery, while providing a 10 percent improvement in bending stiffness.
In a significant boost to handling, the battery's position redistributes the 500e's front-to-rear weight ratio. It is 57:43, compared with 64:36 for the conventionally powered Cinquecento.
The result is a tighter and stiffer feel and better control at higher speeds – all of which contribute to added driver confidence.
The 2014 Fiat 500e pushes its iconic Italian design forward with a shape sculpted in the wind tunnel. The car achieves a 0.311 coeffient of drag (Cd), which is 13 percent better than the Fiat 500 Lounge's 0.359.
The 500e's dot-matrix exterior styling theme is reprised inside, where retro-futuristic design fuses with unique EV technology elements such as a uniquely designed electronic shifter with easy-to-use push-button transmission mode selection.
The 500e's cutting-edge 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) instrument cluster displays full-color picture graphics to illustrate vehicle functions, charge levels and trip information. In addition, an EV-specific TomTom Navigation unit enables the driver to view the vehicle's charge schedule, range, and power-flow gauges, and can even locate nearby charging stations, showing real-time availability.
The Fiat Access smartphone app (compatible with iPhone and Android) further enhances the ownership experience, offering three years of connected services to manage charging via remote, track a driver's energy use, locate the vehicle and nearby charging stations, while providing provides text-message and email alerts.
For more R&T coverage of the 500e, visit www.roadandtrack.com.
About Fiat 500e
With its iconic style, world-class dynamics and environmentally responsible zero-emissions design, the 2014 Fiat 500e builds on the Cinquecento legacy, while offering customers a no-compromise electric vehicle (EV) that embodies the FIAT brand's simple, purposeful and fun-to-drive values. The Fiat 500e electrifies the Cinquecento lineup with even more innovation and style, an EPA tested 87 miles driving range and a 116 miles-per-gallon-equivalent (MPGe) highway rating of pure battery-electric power.
About FIAT Brand
The FIAT brand stands for discovery through passionate self-expression. It encourages people to be in charge of their lives, live confidently and celebrate the smallest of things with infectious excitement. That philosophy is embodied by the North American introduction of the iconic Fiat 500 or Cinquecento - a small car that lives big. Italian at heart and rooted in a rich heritage, the Fiat 500 is synonymous with modern, simple design blending form, function and a pride of ownership that is genuine.
Reminiscent of the original Cinquecento, the Fiat 500 and Fiat 500c (Cabrio) build on the vehicle's global popularity. Since its initial launch in 2007, more than 1,000,000 Fiat 500 vehicles have been sold in more than 100 countries around the world. In addition to success on the sales front, the Fiat 500 has earned more than 80 international awards, including being named the 2008 European Car of the Year, 2009 World Car Design of the Year and Best New Engine of 2010 (Fiat MultiAir® Turbo). In the U.S., the 2012 Fiat 500 was named "Best Buy" in the subcompact category by Consumers Digest and was deemed a "Top Safety Pick" by the influential Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This year, the 2013 Fiat 500 was named to the "10 Coolest New Cars Under $18,000" list by Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com.
The FIAT brand portfolio in North America continues to expand. In 2013, the FIAT brand launched the high-performance Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio, the fully-electric Fiat 500e and the Fiat 500L, an all-new five-passenger model that expands FIAT's brand style and efficiency into the growing B-segment.
About Chrysler Group LLC
Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 to establish a global strategic alliance with Fiat S.p.A., produces Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, SRT, FIAT and Mopar vehicles and products. With the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete on a global scale, the alliance builds on Chrysler Group's culture of innovation, first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925, and Fiat's complementary technology that dates back to its founding in 1899.
Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler Group's product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300 and Town & Country, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Dart, Ram 1500, SRT Viper and Fiat 500. Fiat contributes world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small- and medium-size cars, allowing Chrysler Group to offer an expanded product line including environmentally friendly vehicles.