First previewed with the Fiat 500 Elettra concept back at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, the new 500e is being launched primarily for compliance reasons with certain state regulations and thus will be available in limited markets.
For now, that means just the state of California. In fact, the 500e won’t even be available in the Fiat 500’s home market of Italy, or anywhere else in Europe for that matter.
Compared to the regular 500, the 500e gets a sleeker look, which presumably is more aerodynamic. Fiat says its designers have developed wind-tunnel-sculpted front and rear fascias, exterior mirror caps, side sills, and introduced a liftgate mounted aero spoiler that all work to reduce the car's drag coefficient and improve aerodynamic performance.
The Fiat 500e also sports a bright new paint finish, custom wheels and a minimalist interior with buttons for the gear selection. If you look closely, the instrument cluster is also new. There’s also an available e-Sport Package exclusive to this model. This adds a number of blacked-out elements around the car to add a unique and sporty look.
The wheels are also unique. They measure 15 inches in diameter and feature a flush design for optimal aerodynamics.
Behind the steering wheel, a new 7-inch display provides vital information gathered from a trip computer, tire-pressure monitor and vehicle status messaging system. An available TomTom navigation pairs with the 500e's standard Blue&Me connectivity feature.
2013 Fiat 500eEnlarge Photo
The suspension of the 500e has been adjusted with increased spring rates and unique front-strut and rear-shock tuning. A 16.3:1 steering-gear ratio has also been applied to enhance responsiveness, maneuverability and performance feel. This works together with new tuning for the electronic power steering system.
Fiat hasn’t mentioned pricing yet, but look for something around $35,000 before the list of government tax credits is applied. Sales will commence in the summer of 2013.