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    Thread: I Joined the EV Whackos & Bought a 2016 Fiat 500e!

    1. 05-12-2019 08:00 PM #1
      I have been interested in EVs for quite some time, however after driving a Model 3 a few months back, I have been seriously looking for something to test the waters more affordably. After one evening of searching EVs on the craigslist with no filtering, I came across the funky Fiat 500e. I was aware of it's existence, but never gave it much attention, as I figured that it was a half-baked compliance car, and nothing more. I was wrong. What I discovered is that it was actually a very well done EV - one that under-promised and over-delivered.

      To start, I quickly learned the drive unit is produced by Bosch, and that unlike the Leaf, these have a liquid cooled and heated battery pack, which is also a Samsung lithium unit. Overall, the EV portion of this Fiat seemed to eliminate a good portion of the Fiat reliability concerns - the powertrain! Interesting. The advertised range was typical at 87 miles, however, many folks were able to easily get in the 100s. Really? I then discovered that there are a ton of 2016 lease returns ranging from $7k-$12k, most of which have over 1 year remaining on the 4yr/50k mile B2B warranty, and another 5 years on the 8 year battery warranty - WOW!

      So I started my hunt on cars.com, but since most of these were in California, and I am in Wisconsin, I was having trouble even getting a response. This was until I discovered a site near Chicago called Current Automotive, which specialize in only EVs, and had a 2016 Orange over Black with 14k miles arriving late last week. So I made an appointment for Saturday morning to view the car (before they even took photos of it for their ad), and I came away extremely impressed.

      The car itself looks like just about any other Fiat 500, except for the different front and rear valences, Electric Orange Tri-Coat Pearl paint, which a fantastic color unique to the EVs, and a lower case 'e' next to the '500' nameplate. So in other words, no one knows it's an EV. The gas cap is replaced with a charge port, and the shifter is replaced with a push-button selector. The one odd remaining detail is the Fiat key, which must be installed into the ignition switch, and not only rotated to 'Run', but must also engage 'Start' in order to activate the drive unit - I make a fake starter noise when I do this.

      Quiet, Torquey, Smooth. This describes my first impressions. In other words, it drives very well. It does lack the immediacy off the line of a few other EVs I have driven, but it quickly accelerates once it passes 5 mph. It is very responsive at any speed above 5 mph, which makes me wonder if they programmed this in to keep it stable off the line. The car rides extremely well, but it does roll a bit in the bends, as I think they set the suspension toward the softer end of the spectrum. I think this is also a function of the added weight too, which is now much more evenly distributed, making for more balanced handling.

      To start my first journey in an EV, I selected one with an 87 mile range to drive 140 miles home! Plugshare was my friend. My first stop was at a Shopping Mall in West Dundee, IL, where they had 4 charge stands. Being a complete newbie, I pulled up, and wondered what to do. So I simply took the cord, plugged it in, and heard all of the contactors engage, and saw the car begin charging - well that was stupid easy! This was only 30 miles into my trip, but the guess-o-meter had still displayed 79 miles remaining before I even plugged in, which put me over the 100 mile range - consistent to what I have been seeing on the forums.

      My next stop was at a Chevy Dealer in Burlington, WI. I had plenty of range left, in fact, enough to make it home, but it had good reviews on plugshare, and I wanted to try it out just for the novelty of it. Plus there was a Menards next door, so there was that. Same thing here - simply plug it in, and let the 'free' fuel flow - amazing! Lastly, I stopped at Boucher Nissan in Waukesha , Wisconsin. Same thing, 'free' fuel, and no one cares! I stayed by the car here, but ended up talking to several salesfolks who were interested in my bright orange Fiat. No one knew the car existed, and everyone really loved the color and style.

      Driving a bright orange Fiat is like having a puppy. Everyone looks at it, and lots of folks are interested in it - especially kids! When they find out it is electric, the are really surprised, and often ask many questions, usually relating to charging, range anxiety, and whatever else they heard on TV. I tell them that I can go about 90-100 miles between charges, charge it at home, and that my round trip commute is 28 miles, and I have 4 gas burners in my garage if I feel I might exceed my range. The last point is the one that usually makes them go I hadn't thought of that. I also tell them my mpge value, which is a completely dumb measurement, but is completely relateable to the general public, and currently sits at 158.

      I consider this next year to be a test to see how an EV fits into my life. By next year at this time, I expect that I may be selling fantastic Focus ST. That is how much fun this quirky Fiat is! However, only time will tell for sure, but having this much fun for 20% of the fuel cost of my Focus, and next to no maintenance is very appealing. Also, my wife and daughter both love the car, and my daughter has already asked me if she can have it after she graduates college.

      Here is a pick for clicks - not my car, but it looks exactly like it!

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      2016 Fiat 500e, Electric Orange Tri-Coat Pearl/Black - I live life 84 miles at a time!

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    3. Senior Member VadGTI's Avatar
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      05-12-2019 08:05 PM #2
      Congrats! For a while, these were apparently going for $3-4k or so at dealer auctions and I was thinking of grabbing one for the hell of it. Then the Norwegians figured this out and now they've basically doubled in price .
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      05-12-2019 08:27 PM #3
      Mmmmmm. I've been thinking about an EV, but I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the $ to get something with 125+ miles of range.

      But for what I do - shopping, driving to Hartford, the occasional jaunt to the train station - this might just be enough. I really enjoyed the 500e press car I drove - I think it was orange too.

      Plus, I think a 500e is small enough to stick it in the corner of my 2-car garage where the tractor normally lives, plugged-in over the winter.

      Tom

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      05-12-2019 08:34 PM #4
      I saw your photo with the car they posted on their FB page. Congrats on the purchase!

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    6. Member Yuppie Scum's Avatar
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      05-12-2019 08:54 PM #5
      This is really quickly turning into the EV lounge. Congrats OP

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      05-12-2019 09:42 PM #6
      Everything is great about the 500e except the useless backseat and I need to use the backseat quite often.

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      05-12-2019 09:46 PM #7
      Welcome to the EV club! I think there was an EV registry thread around here.

      On our 2nd i3; I drove it home tonight as the Mini threw a bunch of misfire codes. It's very relaxing to drive longer than around town.

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      05-12-2019 09:49 PM #8
      From one used EV owner to another, congrats!

      Quote Originally Posted by VadGTI View Post
      Then the Norwegians figured this out and now they've basically doubled in price .
      Used Focus Electrics have been ending up in Jordan of all places. No import or sales tax on EVs there, since they somehow ended up oil poor in the Middle East.

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      05-12-2019 09:52 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Yuppie Scum View Post
      This is really quickly turning into the EV lounge. Congrats OP
      no kidding!


      Quote Originally Posted by someguy123 View Post
      Everything is great about the 500e except the useless backseat and I need to use the backseat quite often.
      if you want a similar random small car with an EV drivetrain, try and hunt down a spark. usable enough of a back seat for the entirety if the battery charge, which is fine since like the 500e it cant really go on road trips


      nice pick up OP, i used to see these all over when i lived in PDX.
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    11. 05-12-2019 09:53 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by mutcth View Post

      Plus, I think a 500e is small enough to stick it in the corner of my 2-car garage where the tractor normally lives, plugged-in over the winter.

      Tom
      Funny you say this - I was able to easily park my Focus in back of the 500e, I also came to the conclusion that my 3-1/2 garage is actually a 7 Fiat garage!
      2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder, Absolutely Red/Black, 5spd
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      2016 Fiat 500e, Electric Orange Tri-Coat Pearl/Black - I live life 84 miles at a time!

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      05-12-2019 10:07 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by Yuppie Scum View Post
      This is really quickly turning into the EV lounge. Congrats OP
      It is like we are all starting to reach an age where EV torque, efficiency, and quietness are starting to factor more into our vehicle decisions. I know I am heavily considering one for my next daily with my new commute.
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      05-12-2019 10:20 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by NeverEnoughCars View Post
      It is like we are all starting to reach an age where EV torque, efficiency, and quietness are starting to factor more into our vehicle decisions. I know I am heavily considering one for my next daily with my new commute.
      this is great!

      And nice pickup OP! The 500e is the best of the under $10k EVs. IMO, EVs are the thinking person's cars. Once you actually pause to think critically of your needs and benefits, most drivers would go electric.
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    14. 05-13-2019 12:09 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Yuppie Scum View Post
      This is really quickly turning into the EV lounge.
      Hey, I'm trying to join the party. First I need to sell the Metro... and I now have three parties who have contacted me and expressed interest. Soon.

      OP: congrats!
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    15. Senior Member Wimbledon's Avatar
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      05-13-2019 12:27 AM #14
      Congratulations! It sounds like you’re really enjoying the 500e. That orange and white color scheme is unique to the EV and definitely fun.

      Good to hear you know to use the PlugShare app to find charging stations. Make sure to sign up for ChargePoint and Blink accounts so that it’s faster to start charging at those stations when you encounter one for the first time.

      I’m soon approaching almost a year with my 500e. I still love it as much as when I first got it, and am pretty sure I’m going to buy it when the lease is up. Fun to drive, relaxing in traffic, cheap to run, a durable drivetrain with basically no maintenance, and a design that I enjoy. It’s the perfect daily.
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      05-13-2019 12:30 AM #15
      I love the 500e, though I've never driven one. Nice pickup and welcome to the club!
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    17. 05-13-2019 08:40 AM #16
      Thanks for all of the kind comments. It really has been a fantastic experience. This bright orange toy sticks out among the sea of grayscale vehicles on the roads. Even without the EV portion, I love this car, as it simply has tons soul and character. Kids point and wave, and most everyone smiles at it (or maybe they are just laughing at me?). Now add in the EV benefits, and it the definitely is the most entertaining vehicle I have purchased in a long time.

      Quote Originally Posted by Tommietank View Post
      IMO, EVs are the thinking person's cars. Once you actually pause to think critically of your needs and benefits, most drivers would go electric.
      I think this a lot, but I almost never say it aloud. It truly is. Especially when you weigh in the low entry cost on the used market due to massive initial depreciation. That said, EVs seem to level off considerably after this, as evidenced by the lack of further movement of 2012 Volt and Leaf prices over the last 3 years. I think the greatest hurdle with EVs is getting people to think - they simply tend to put too much weight on infrequent edge cases, instead of the reality of how they drive. I will admit to being guilty of this myself, as I never thought that I would consider a sub-100 mile EV. However, most of my commuting is 28 miles round trip. So if I need to run an errand or so, I still have 50+ miles to do that. If we are planning to go to Chicago for the weekend, we simply take my wife's car instead.

      Don't get me wrong - I still enjoy my gas engine experiences, especially running top down in my MR2. But for commuting,running errands, and other daily activities, EVs seem hard to beat.
      Last edited by daSchtick; 05-13-2019 at 09:38 AM.
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      2016 Fiat 500e, Electric Orange Tri-Coat Pearl/Black - I live life 84 miles at a time!

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      05-13-2019 08:55 AM #17
      Congratualtions!

      May I ask how much did you pay for it?

      thanks.

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      05-13-2019 09:11 AM #18
      A heartfelt congrats - and you were in my neck of the woods too! I am guessing you were at Spring Hill Mall?

      Charging stations are going up everywhere. My friend runs an EV blog site, and I told him when you start seeing charging stations in the midwest, you will see adoption - and that's what's happening.

      My wife and I drove a Tesla Model 3 6 some months ago, and haven't been able to get it out of our heads since them. The problem I am having is I want to lease an EV, not buy it. As you see, the depreciation on them are unmitigated disasters.

      Please update this thread, I will be watching this closely!
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    20. 05-13-2019 10:01 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by Maximum_Download View Post
      A heartfelt congrats - and you were in my neck of the woods too! I am guessing you were at Spring Hill Mall?
      Thanks for the kind words. Yup - I stopped at Spring Hill Mall. Being a complete newb to EVs, I wanted to stop to top it off.

      Quote Originally Posted by Maximum_Download View Post
      My wife and I drove a Tesla Model 3 6 some months ago, and haven't been able to get it out of our heads since them. The problem I am having is I want to lease an EV, not buy it.
      I really enjoyed the Model 3 also, and had the experience cemented into my brain also. I just can't spend that kind of money on a car. Tesla just came out with a $4500 down,/$399 lease on the Model 3. This tells me, that even Tesla knows that these will probably depreciate around 50% over 3 years. I told the folks at Current Automotive that once I can pick up a LR AWD Model 3 for less than $30k, I will probably be back. Until then, I am going to be thoroughly enjoying the Fiat!

      Quote Originally Posted by Maximum_Download View Post
      Please update this thread, I will be watching this closely!
      Will do!
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      2016 Fiat 500e, Electric Orange Tri-Coat Pearl/Black - I live life 84 miles at a time!

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      05-13-2019 10:16 AM #20
      Wow, thats a great value. I want one now.

    22. Senior Member Wimbledon's Avatar
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      05-13-2019 11:39 AM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by ghost03 View Post
      Wow, thats a great value. I want one now. <img src="https://www.vwvortex.com/Anthony/Smilies/eek.gif" border="0" alt="" title="EEK!" class="inlineimg" />
      The low cost is especially cheap to other markets, which is why significant numbers are being exported and you can find photos of these cars “California 500” all over Europe. I talked to the owner of a car lot here in the Bay Area and he has a tidy business going of exporting 500e abroad.
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      05-13-2019 11:44 AM #22
      Two questions: What's the best 500e forum? And, does the non-EV stuff hold up/is reasonably reliable in these cars?

      I mentioned the idea of getting one as a 3rd car to my wife, and she (amazingly) did not shoot the idea down. Instead, she started strategizing how to get the highly-preferential EV parking spots at her corporate HQ.

      Tom

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      05-13-2019 11:49 AM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by daSchtick View Post
      Here is a pick for clicks - not my car, but it looks exactly like it!

      Congratulations OP! But you have not earned the right to call us "EV Whackos" until you register* your EV here:

      https://forums.vwvortex.com/showthre...light=Registry

      *Potato pics accepted.

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      05-13-2019 11:53 AM #24
      I'm also curious about this.

      There are quite a few of these on the used market here...I'd still prefer an i3, but with our solar install going live in a couple of weeks, the idea of not buying gas for a daily is enticing. It does mean the weekend car would have to be more of a jack of all trades, though...hmm.

    26. Senior Member Wimbledon's Avatar
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      05-13-2019 12:20 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by mutcth View Post
      Two questions: What's the best 500e forum? And, does the non-EV stuff hold up/is reasonably reliable in these cars?

      I mentioned the idea of getting one as a 3rd car to my wife, and she (amazingly) did not shoot the idea down. Instead, she started strategizing how to get the highly-preferential EV parking spots at her corporate HQ.

      Tom
      http://www.fiat500usaforum.com/forum...p?78-Fiat-500e and https://www.fiat500owners.com/forum/66-fiat-500e/ are the two main forums, and there is also an active Facebook group.

      The non-EV mechanicals hold up well. If you're buying an older car, it could probably use a suspension refresh to restore handling and ride. I think the interior trim depends a lot on how the owner cared for it. Before I leased mine, I looked at several used examples because I was considering buying one outright instead. Many of the cars I looked at were pretty beat up and scratched everywhere, so I'd recommend putting eyes on one and not buying sight unseen. Because nearly every 500e was leased at a cheap monthly payment, many owners did not care for them.

      I've taken care of mine and the interior looks as good as the day I first picked up the car. Mine has never even seen an automatic car wash.

      Also, if you're a taller driver you may want to find one without a sunroof.
      Last edited by Wimbledon; 05-13-2019 at 12:25 PM.
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