Road & Track Selects Fiat 500e as “Best Electric Car of 2013″

10 months ago by Eric Loveday 22

Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e

Despite it being purely a compliance EV and sold in limited numbers, the Fiat 500e was selected by Road & Track as the winner of the magazine’s “Best Electric Car of 2013″ award.

500e Interior

500e Interior

Aside from the compliance aspect, we think the 500e is worthy of this accolade, as its one of only a few reasonably priced electrics out there with a focus on performance (the Chevy Spark EV immediately comes to mind, too).

As for Road & Track’s selection of the 500e, here’s what the magazine’s editors say:

  • 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

Fiat-Chrysler issued this press release celebrating the 500e’s victory:

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.

Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e

“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.

Rather Evenly Matched...the Spark EV is the only Real Competitor Out There to the Fiat 500e - Sadly, Both Are Compliance EVs

Rather Evenly Matched…the Spark EV is the only Real Competitor Out There to the Fiat 500e – Sadly, Both Are Compliance EVs

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.

This schematic provides most of the electric 500's vital details.

This schematic provides most of the electric 500′s vital details.

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.

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22 responses to "Road & Track Selects Fiat 500e as “Best Electric Car of 2013″"

  1. krona2k says:

    I wonder if that actually annoys CEO Sergio Marchionne. It’s a shame that when something is expensive the solution to many execs is to ignore it rather than work on ways of getting the price down. Probably they don’t have the money to do much themselves so will just have to wait for third parties to do the work.

  2. Rick Danger says:

    I guess the drive wheels and axle shafts falling off the car also cuts down on the weight, as well as lowering the front end. Good job Fiat! Good job R&T!

    1. Assaf says:

      Yup, sounds to me like a pre-bought PR “prize”.

      Any outfit that delivers a “best EV of 2013″ to an EV that’s strictly in-your-face compliance while the company chiefs are dissing the entire EV concept,

      and – let’s not forget – has no quick-charge option (amirite? Might have been good enough in 2010, not now) –

      loses its face-value respectability on the matter of EVs.

      1. pjwood says:

        4hrs to 87 AER, @240v, sounds plenty quick to me, though I know you meant L3 capacity.

        1. Assaf says:

          Yup, that’s what I meant.

          As an EV driver, I know that L3 the key to road-trip and emergency-need capabilities.

          Again, no L3 is ok in general and we’ve used ours very seldom, but you cannot claim to be “EV of the year” anymore without one.

          It is simply not an all-around vehicle, by any stretch, without that. And in 2013 and going forward, an EV that is not all-around, cannot be “EV of the year” of any reputable outfit.

  3. Francis L says:

    Chrysler has a fantastic product in their hands, and they don’t want to sell it. A company that doesn’t want to make cash, that is pretty unusual!

    I don’t believe them when they say that they are losing money on every fiat 500e they sell. And if it is true, it’s only because they are doing it wrong. Others manufacturer are releasing new EV models, and I don’t think they would do it if it wasn’t profitable!

  4. Rick says:

    Take that, Tesla.

  5. Loboc says:

    The Spark has more bold font (better) stats than the 500e. What’s up with that?

    I’d rather have 5 less miles per charge and go 0-60 quicker. I’m surprised that R&T didn’t chose on performance.

    1. taser54 says:

      Don’t get the “frugality” conclusion either as it is $5000 more expensive than a Spark EV (that is, if they weren’t already sold out).

  6. Suprise Cat says:

    Giving a price to a vaporware product? Makes total sense…

    1. Spec9 says:

      It is certainly low volume but it is not vaporware. I’ve seen a couple of them. It is really cute.

  7. Ryan says:

    That magazine and the entire auto industry are so corrupt and insidious. I wonder how much the pay off was?

    “J.D. Power” “A Global Market Research Company”. Their credibility is totally suspect. I don’t trust any of them.

  8. Spec9 says:

    Fiat can’t even really take credit for this. They outsourced the 500e engineering to Bosch.

  9. danwat1234 says:

    “Unsurpassed frugality with EPA-estimated annual fuel-equivalent cost of $500″

    Fit EV is 118MPGe combined, Spark EV is 119MPGe combined compared to the Fiat 500 EV’s 116MPGe. Basically all the same. But the 500e only has a 83KW motor, so slower than the Fit or Spark EV

    1. Tesla Fan says:

      MPGe is the stupidest thing ever, makes no sense, stop using that, means nothing

      1. Spec9 says:

        It is a strange unit . . . why not miles/KWH? But it is a useful statistic that shows how efficient the car is relative to other electric vehicles.

    2. KeiJidosha says:

      Fit EV, like Tesla S, Focus Electric, and LEAF were available before 2013, so not in contention. Spark EV accelerates quicker, but charges slower. Apparently came down to a fashion show. Style wins.

      1. Eletruk says:

        So that means the BMW i3 should have been on the list. Wonder why it didn’t win?

  10. Tesla Fan says:

    this proves the smart ED is underrated. go ahead and continue to ignore it while I and all the owners continue to enjoy it.

  11. Foo says:

    Um, how is the blended braking system “unique”. The Ford Focus Electric does the same thing (e.g., B-pedal will engage regenerative and/or conventional brakes depending on how much braking is requested, usually reserving the latter for only heavy braking).

  12. Bill Howland says:

    Too bad we can’t get them in NY State. Its a cute little car and if its peppy then so much the better. Sergio likes Natural Gas better, but I don’t see any of those vehicles either. We’re still waiting for an Eaton, Whirlpool, or GE branded $500 home hydraulic reliable refueling station.

  13. Gadge says:

    That is one FUGLY vehicle!