Ward’s 10 Best Engines 2014 In Detail: Fiat 500e

JUL 3 2014 BY MARK KANE 13

Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e

Ward's 10 Best Engine Winner: Fiat 500e

Ward’s 10 Best Engine Winner: Fiat 500e

At the end of 2013, Ward’s Auto included the Fiat 500e among its 2014 list of “10 Best Engines” Award, an award received by both the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt in 2010.

Recently, Ward’s Auto presented its story behind the choice of the Fiat 500e, which got the award despite being compliance car initially available only in California.

“Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne openly admits his company is doing the 500e (and future electrified vehicles) only to comply with those mandates, and that it will lose $14,000 on every 500e it leases or sells.”

“But that did not discourage his 500e team from engineering and developing it to be enjoyable to drive, with one of the best available BEV powertrains. Hence our well-deserved kudos.”

Some comments from the Ward’s Auto team in regards to the 500e include:

–  “little guided missile”

–  “off-the-charts torque” 

–  “hauls ass”

Bosch electric motor

Bosch electric motor

The main reasons to appreciate the Fiat 500e “Engine” is low energy consumption without sacrificing performances (with 0-60 in nine seconds) and a fun driving experience.

“The conventional 500’s two most endearing qualities, styling cuteness and fun-to-drive character, have been well preserved in this EV version.”

“The 500e dashes from stoplights with such confidence that even hard-hearted internal-combustion devotees will find themselves recalibrating their perceptions after a test drive.”

The Fiat 500e project was conducted by Chrysler, however we believe that engine motor itself comes from Bosch, a company which boasted about this one year ago.

Fiat Chrysler global director for electrification Mike Duhaime stated:

“Chrysler is the center of electrification excellence for all of Fiat Chrysler. We took the base vehicle, purchased some components from suppliers and did the conversion. We did all the design and integration work, the vehicle dynamics and aerodynamic development and the NVH character,”

“Also, the power and performance balancing was all done by us and our controls groups. There are some low-level controls that suppliers do for us, but we do the supervisory controls ourselves. In some cases, we co-designed with suppliers, but our engineers integrated the parts into the vehicle…everything that gives the car its character, the specifications of what we wanted the components to be and what the efficiencies needed to be.”

Motor (83 kW and 200 Nm / 147 lb.-ft. of torque) is combined with 9.6:1 gear reduction single-speed gearbox. Target for the efficiency of the drivetrain (motor and gearbox) was over 80%, with power electronics at “high 90s.”

Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e

Source: Ward’s Auto

Categories: Fiat

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13 Comments on "Ward’s 10 Best Engines 2014 In Detail: Fiat 500e"

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I agree with all the statements and love my Fiat 500 a lot. However the Chevy spark also seems to be a very nice card with even better acceleration and similar efficiency . why is that one not being mentioned ?


I agree. I don’t know what sets the 500e apart from the rest of EVs, let alone the Spark EV. Its acceleration times are mid-pack compared to other lower cost EVs. The motor’s efficiency has been rated as mid-pack also. I see nothing astounding here.


re: mid-pack –

Road and Track has a good comparison table at http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/final-scoring-performance-data-and-complete-specs-page-8

The 500e is fastest 0-30 and in the slalom.
The top 3 in 0-60, 0-80 and 1/4mile are the Spark, the Fit, and the 500e, in that order.

The 500e is my daily driver and the above number match my experience.


If Spark EV is top in all those category you mentioned, then why isn’t Spark EV’s motor listed here?

I think that is a valid question to ask.

Mike Kamm

The Spark is not rated #1 in everything. Unfortunately, it is still in the stone age with it’s slow 3.3 kW charger.


The Spark EV is slower 0-30 and is slower in the slalom. Plus it’s cuter, but that is subjective 🙂

Last summer I was waiting to test drive a Spark EV and a 500e. The 500e became available and I bought it before I tested the Spark, but the Spark was my second option. After having lived with the 500e for a while, I would never buy an EV with a 3.3kW charger. Most days I can charge overnight and a 3.3 would do, but some days I need to charge in the middle of the day and 3.3 is way too slow.

Also, everything else being the same, I would have preferred to buy from a company like GM that is much more committed to EVs than FIAT.

Jeff D

“The 500e dashes from stoplights with such confidence that even hard-hearted internal-combustion devotees will find themselves recalibrating their perceptions after a test drive.” Sergio might want to get into his own electric vehicle and see what he’s missing. It is too bad that there are good EVs out there that don’t get the attention they deserve because the people making the decisions are too shortsighted to see the big picture.


I really don’t get Mr. Sergio. He decided to sell the car (directly or indirectly, he is the CEO), and it is selling well. He is getting a lot of very good PR, very good buzz from the owners (check the G+ group, or any other forum) and he is selling FIATs into demographics where they had no presence (SF Bay Area, for example). Even if he were to look at this from a purely marketing effort thinking of other FIAT cars (the new Alfa, for example), the 500e is paying off.

I think he should recognize the parade and step in front of it. Actually, I’d bet he could sell a “sport” version of the 500e with a few extra handling improvements (Abarth tires/wheels, better shocks, rear sway bar, lowered springs, even a more aggressive software configuration for the battery/motor) for a premium and he could lose “less money” per unit. I’ve not modded a car since I was a teenager and I’m seriously considering doing it to my 500e.


Well certainly if they are losing 14k on each vehicle that would indicate it’s a great deal.
The engine itself was being singled out in the article as being the best.
One of my top picks for the ev revolution.
An Abarth version would be really cool, though that will apparently not happen.


There are several posts inthe G+ community about mods that get close to an “Abarth” version of the 500e. Nobody has tried modding the PIM/Battery software but the rest is mostly there.

Rear Sway Bar – https://plus.google.com/112518460456366135022/posts/cUTEJZLpZEJ (Brandon M)
Tires/Wheels/Shocks/Springs – https://plus.google.com/114571023272165719303/posts/Mh44uypATX4 (John Cook)

Ron Gibson

Most 500e drivers are leasing the car, and as such are hesitant to put extra money into modifications. I bought mine, and have “Abarth-ed” it….lowered, 17″ wheels, rear sway bar, & Koni shocks. The car puts a smile on my face every time I drive it, especially driving solo in the carpool lane.


I bought too… and I’m looking for an excuse to follow Ron’s example.


Nice to see the Fiat 500e get some of the praise it deserves. It’s a great little car. 10k+ fun filled miles so far…