The Fiat 500e Is Back

Stellantis explains what’s new and what’s different about the updated city EV.

The 2024 Fiat 500e comes to the U.S. with more range, faster charging and better electrical architecture. (Stellantis)

After a hiatus of five years, Fiat is reintroducing the 500e to the U.S. The all-new EV, which is new to the U.S. in 2024, has been sold in Europe for the past four years. So, what’s new? We spoke with Stellantis to get the answers.

SAE: The original Fiat 500e “survived” in the U.S. from 2011 to 2019, but the model hardly changed over those nine years, and sales dropped precipitously. What’s different now?

Stellantis: Unlike the old car, the new 500e was designed and engineered to be an EV, which simplified certain elements of the development. Also, the car has operated in Europe since 2020, and that advance helped speed up the introduction to North America. The 2024 Fiat 500e is about 30 pounds (14 kg) lighter than the previous model and offers improved dimensions

More importantly, the new 500e offers greater range, fast charging, more technology, safety systems, Uconnect 5 and better electrical architecture.

SAE: Are there changes to the motor?

Stellantis: Old: 111 horsepower (83 kW) electric-drive motor with permanent-magnet, three-phase synchronous electric drive motor with 147 lb-ft (200 Nm). New: 117 hp (87 kW) AC three-phase with permanent magnetic rotor; peak torque is now 162 lb-ft (220 Nm).

SAE: What about the batteries?

Stellantis: The previous 500e used a 24-kW hour liquid-cooled/heated lithium-ion battery. The new chemistry is lithium-ion nickel manganese cobalt. 42 kWh. Cell configuration is 96S 2P. The battery can be recharged at a DC charging station at up to 85 kW, which is enough to add 31 miles (50 km) of range in just five minutes.

SAE: How do you heat the vehicle and battery?

Stellantis: To heat the cabin, we have an HV air PTC (it is not a heat pump). We use an HV coolant heater to heat the battery.

SAE: How and who decided on the range for the U.S.?

Stellantis: The range of the Fiat 500e is directly related to packaging and technology. We designed and engineered the 500e to maximize range in a city car package with enough range to handle city commutes for multiple days without needing to charge.

SAE: Does a city car really need 150 miles (241 km) of range? The previous 500e offered 87 miles (140 km) of range.

Stellantis: That’s a great argument and customers will tell us from their purchases. As EVs become more prevalent, we will see shifts in range demand as we have seen shifts in vehicle type. Because the Fiat 500e is built from the ground up to be an EV, we can easily make adjustments to adapt.

SAE: The 500e has three regen modes. Do European drivers use their cars differently than Americans in this regard?

Stellantis: The European variant has the same features. The 500e is a city car and can benefit from all three modes of operation. Also, just because we give our customers multiple features and lots of content, that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone will use 100% of those features.

SAE: Will Fiat be doing anything to educate Americans about the differences between ICE, hybrid, PHEV and EV powertrains? This is a major issue with all manufacturers trying to sell alternative powertrains in the U.S.

We believe the first part is to ease the transition and that is why we provide a Level 2 charger or charging credits with every 500e purchase. Also, it is more about the core product than anything. We designed and engineered the Fiat 500e to be a car that truly lends itself to city use. This is logical and will attract people looking for logical transportation.