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116 Mpg-E Fiat 500e Electric Car Debuts In LA

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On: Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 10:47AM | By: Chris Weiss


116 Mpg-E Fiat 500e Electric Car Debuts In LA

Fiat has already told journalists that it did not want to build the 500e electric car and expects to lose money on every model sold. So it must have been with begrudging chagrin that it debuted the new electrified mini car at the 2012 LA Auto Show.

The reason that Fiat bothered with the 500e at all is simple: meeting California's requirements for zero emissions vehicles. As such, the car will only be available in California when it launches next spring. Because electric cars remain a niche market and the 500 itself has struggled in the United States, we don't anticipate that many non-Californians will be heartbroken about the decision.

The 500e dumps the gas engine of the standard 500 in favor of a 111-hp electric motor. The 24 kWh battery pack that powers the motor recharges in about four hours with 240-volt hardware. The powertrain can drive up to 80 miles, though Fiat says you could push that to around 100 miles in the city. The automaker estimates that the car will get a 116 mpg-e rating in the city and 100 mpg-e combined.

The 500e includes a few other changes over the standard 500. Fiat optimized the aerodynamics of the car in order to increase battery range. Aerodynamic modifications include a new rear spoiler, new side sills, and redesigned front and rear ends. Fiat also designed a new chassis and suspension.

Fiat brass may not have been excited about building the 500e, but they managed to put on a smile for the debut.

"The Fiat 500e changes the paradigm in an electric vehicle market that's quickly becoming crowded," said Tim Kuniskis, Head of FIAT Brand North America, in a press release. "The Fiat 500e offers iconic Italian design and a great combination of performance and range, with battery technology that delivers consistent performance across all weather conditions."


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