The Fiat 500e was supposed to be just a compliance car, so when Fiat announced their all electric car would be offered at $32,500 we were more than a little surprised.

Then they took it one better and offered leases from $199/month with only $999 at signing.  That financing option is in 'base 2013 Nissan LEAF' territory.

Fiat 500e Seems To Have It All. Great Styling, Good Range...And Decent Pricing

Fiat 500e Seems To Have It All. Great Styling, Good Range...And Decent Pricing

...and the Fiat 500e is far from a base Nissan LEAF.

Just in case you were wondering how the 500e's price stacks up against the gas-burning Fiat 500, check out this quote from the automaker's press release:

"The Fiat 500e is priced at $32,500, which includes a $700 destination charge. However, eligible California residents may be able to purchase the 500e for as low as $20,500, after federal credits, state incentives and FIAT rebates are included. That’s about $200 less than the current starting price of a comparably-equipped Fiat 500 Lounge with a gas engine."

The 500e has a  capable 83 kW (111 hp)  electric motor that delivers 147 pound-feet of torque, powered by a 24 kWh lithium battery.

Charging is of the 6.6 kW variety, so a full charge takes only about 4 hours to achieve, and the battery has an active management system  (liquid-cool/heat).

The Fiat also has received a very impressive, and now class leading, 87 mile EPA rating on the car.

"Fuel" efficiency ratings for the Italian EV are 116 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) in the city and 100 MPGe on the highway.  Other notable electric cars (and their ranges) that the Fiat 500e is priced against are: Nissan LEAF - 75 miles, Smart Fortwo - 68 miles,  Honda Fit EV - 82 miles, Focus Electric - 76 miles, and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV at 62 miles.

2014 Fiat 500E Interior -

2014 Fiat 500E Interior - "Back To The Future"

Even inside, where you would expect the interior to be rather spartan given its price-point, buyers should be surprised with Fiat's well appointed "retro-futuristic design."  The 500e dash console sports a 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) display with navigation.  Also included in the package are premium front heated leatherette/cloth seats.  An excessively long list of other features can be found here.

“With unique Italian style, industry-best highway MPGe rating and class-leading combined driving range, we know we have a great car in our hands,” said Tim Kuniskis Head of FIAT Brand North America. “Now our task is to simplify the customer’s experience and make sure that people know how easy and affordable it can be to own our electric Cinquecento.”

So is the Fiat 500e still just a compliance car?  Or has Fiat/Chrysler just learned from the limited-run woes of Toyota and Honda (with the Rav4 EV and Fit EV respectively), who thought they could pricetheir electric vehicle's high, due to their exclusivity, and still sell out of.

Well, plans have not changes as of now, and the Fiat 500e is only available in California, at Fiat's 25 dealers across the state.

Buyers in California will of course gain the additional $2,500 state incentive credit, bringing the effective price down to $20,500, as well as receiving as Fiat's commitment (called the Pass program) to provide 12 free days of rental cars per year; for those times their EV's 87 miles of range is not sufficient.

The Fiat 500e goes on sale this summer...we think at $32,500 and $199/month, it should be a big hit.

Consumer's Report also filed this quick and tidy "first drive report" earlier this year:

Read the Fiat 500e media release here.

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