Fiat 500e Frenzy

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Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by oatnet » Apr 26 2017 5:10pm

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After building a few electric cars (and motorcycles and ebikes) here, I finally bought my first factory EV automobile, a Sky-Blue Fiat 500e. These are only sold in California and Oregon, so if you don't live here you might not have seen one in person. I have a few data points indicating that Fiat is starting to support them nationwide so people in other states are importing them.

I specifically didn't want to buy another car until I retired and knew what my needs looked like. However, after I read this article in February, and saw how CHEAP the 500e is going, I changed my mind. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/110 ... rs-at-6500 Time will tell whether this car can satiate my Tesla cravings, or it is just another Gateway EV.

I saw one with 47k miles sell for as little as $4,700, but cheap ones generally start at $5,400 if you don't care about condition. You will spend $6k-$7k for a decent example. I bought mine for $7,800, 25% of what it sold for new; I only paid that much because it is a rare color, in top condition with 24k miles, fresh off a 2 year lease instead of the typical 3-year lease.
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The 500e excels in city/suburb duty. Acceleration to 35mph is stunning - much faster than most gas cars and even the 400lb/ft Spark EV. It gets to 50mph fast, and beyond that it is merely quick. It is 0-60 rated at 8.7 seconds (8.0 from my crude testing) which is much quicker than Leaf/Fit/smart car, slower than the Spark. At 65mph it still surges powerfully for passing; I thought it would be choppy on the freeway, it the model's custom aerodynamics made it squat down and ride smoothly. The torque makes it a challenge to come off the line without spinning the tires, especially in a turn; I'd prefer RWD like the i3 instead of FWD, but oh well. Here is a good comparison to similar EVs: http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons ... ecs-page-8

The 500e is faster than any gas Fiat except the Arbath. The battery pack is mounted low/rear, giving it better front/rear balance than the extremely nose-heavy gas version. FCA also loaded the 500e up with every possible feature and option - from electronic stability control to heated seats/mirrors to rear wipers and back-up sensors. It has airbags out the wazoo - front airbags, side curtain air bags for front and rear, knee airbags, and side airbags in the front seats.
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The dealer had lots of lease returns for sale
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See how the white bumper inserts/spoiler reveal which ones are burdened with a white interior
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Getting a FREE charge from a random public charger

It is a bit of a Tardis, much roomier inside than you would expect. The riding position is surprisingly high - about that of a compact SUV. The front is very spacious and comfortable, it the rear seats are suited to smaller folk and children - a few salespeople squeezed in to the back without complaint. The doors are long to allow access to the rear seats, I wish they were shorter so I could open them wider for tight parking spots. There is a room under the rear hatch for a lot of groceries, much more if you fold the rear seats down.

The 24kw battery pack is liquid cooled (unlike the leaf), charges from empty in 3.5 hours level 2 (240v/30a) 20+ hours level 1 (120v/12a). It is rated at 87 miles (more than I travel in a week - but people have gotten as much as 110m and as little as 70m. I drove 60+ freeway miles home from the dealer at 65mph-75mph and had 29 miles/38% left.

The HVAC and power steering are electric. There is a cellular-attached transmitter in the car, but the app that uses it isn't very good, and is disabled after 3 years so cars coming off a 3-year lease vehicles won't be able to access it.
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The Fiat and the Towdster being electric together.
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Attachments
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Grabbing a free charge
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by oatnet » Apr 26 2017 5:19pm

I mean seriously, a freeway capable EV for as little as $5k... I accumulated information in my search that might help others following down the same path.


500e buying guide

From 2013 through 2017, the Fiat 500e is the exact same car, same motor/battery/suspension etc. The only difference is some minor tweaks to the cockpit:

2014 adds an armrest to the passenger seat.
2015 changes the layout of the front cupholders, and moves the stereo's USB and Aux connections from the glovebox to the passenger's side of the cupholders. A charge-only USB is added to the glovebox. I thought I wanted this, but the new cupholders are too small, and I'd rather the stereo connections were still in the glovebox so I could leave a phone there as my audio source.
2016 replaces the external Tom-Tom Navigation with a built-in dash unit.

Since all years of the car are identical, you will be choosing between milage, condition, and colors. The first choice you have to make is the interior color, white or black. Both colors have the same orange stripes on the seat and steering wheel. Note that Orange-colored cars only come with white interiors. (EDIT-Nope I was wrong, the orange also comes with a black interior, but all the exterior bits {mirror,spoiler,aero} are the same as the white interior)

White interior - the seats, steering wheel, center stack and dash panel are white, but the headrests are orange. The door inserts are white with the armrest in orange. However, the dash, floors, trunk, and headliner are all black. Externally, the aero inserts in the front and rear bumpers are white, and the spoiler over the rear hatch is white, and the mirror covers are white.

Unfortunately, the white interior does not age well. Leather bits, like the steering wheel, get orange and blotchy. The seats pick up a dark shadow of dirt, that gets especially spotty/blotchy when wet. The white interior trim yellows in the sun, like an 80's computer case. I really liked the white exterior with white interior, but after seeing a few harder-used examples of white interiors, I avoided it.

Everything in a black interior is black. The dash panel is body-colored on silver, white, Luce blu, and granite, but black for everything else (Celeste blu, Nero). Externally, the aero on the front and rear bumpers is black, and both the mirror covers and the spoiler over the rear window are the same color as the body (which I strongly prefer to the contrasting white ones). You can tell whether the interior is white or black by looking at the bumpers, mirrors, and spoiler.


Options:

The "E-Sport" appearance package, 1 of 2 options, is only available with the black interior. This package gives you orange stripes along the sides, orange mirror covers, blacked-out headlights/turn signals, and blacked out rims. The inserts in the holes of the wheel rims are trimmed with matching orange, but they lack the "tabs" found on the regular 500e version. These tabs mostly fill the holes in order to prevent air from getting sucked underneath the car by the wheels, which decreases the efficiency of the carefully designed airflow under the car by some minuscule amount.


The other option is a sunroof, which decreases headroom by an inch and a half or so. Most tall people fit regardless, the driver's seat has a lever on the left side that jacks the height up or down, but the tallest may want to try before choosing this feature.

The sunroof adds expense/weight, and locates its mass at the highest point of the vehicle where it could induce the most possible body roll. I think the plain metal roof makes the chassis more rigid and the sunroof makes it weaker while adding drag. Besides I like to have the driver's seat jacked up as high as possible for the best view of the road, so I value that extra headroom.

Color

There are a whole lot of black, orange and white cars, and almost as many granite. Silver and blues and gray are rare, you will pay more for them.

Billet Argento (Silver) hides swirlies and dirt, high stealth, rare
Bianca Perla (White) hides swirlies, mostly hides dirt, stealth, many of them
Granito Lucente (Granite pearl) hides 95% swirlies and dirt, high stealth, many of them
E-sport's black headlights look good on this color, and orange stripe looks good
note - observed scratches under door handles on all granite ones
Celeste Blu (1950's light blue) shows dings/swirlies, mostly hides dirt, no stealth, rare
Nero Black shows dings/swirlies, hides dirt a little, high stealth, many of them
Arancio Ellecttrico (Electric Orange) shows dings/swirlies, mostly hides dirt, no stealth, many of them, only comes with white interior.

Other colors
(2015) Luce Blue (silver blue)hides swirlies and dirt, high stealth, rarest
(2016) Grigio Cenre (Gray) shows dings/swirlies, mostly hides dirt, stealth, rare
(2017) Rhino (looks black to me)


Warrantee

The 500e has 2 warrantees. The battery warrantee is 8 years/100k - so the cars coming off a 3 year/36k lease typically have 5 years and 75k of battery warrantee left. However, the rest of the car is only warranted for 4 years/50k; after a three year lease and time in the return/wholesale auction process, most of these cars only have 6 to 11 months of warrantee left. This is long enough to give the car a good trial period to sort out any problems and get TSB's resolved, and thereafter you depend on the notion that electronics generally keep working. Note that some 2015's came off a short 2-year lease special, giving you an extra year.

Mileage

Most of these come off lease between 20k-25k, although there are many examples higher and lower. I've seen pristine high-mileage cars, and trashed low-mileage cars, so condition is more important than miles.

I think a high mileage 500e can be good buy - owners of high-mileage 500e's are not noticing loss in range, and the 100k battery warrantee is reassuring. I even prefer the high mileage cars because it show that they were a reliable daily driver that got used a lot. While most of these are really good, we know that some were really bad, so I am suspicious of low mileage ones - did the PO not use it because they couldn't depend on it? I just wanted the mileage low enough that the base warrantee would expire at the end of 4 years, not because I passed 50k.


Lease vs own

With lease deals of $0 down and $49-$69/month, this car is ridiculously cheap to lease. The lease hassle factor is high - many people had problems finding dealers that would let them return their leases. The back-end costs can add up too - a surprise $395 "destination charge" for turning it in, penalties for dings and worn tires and tinting etc. Although they are selling for $4k-$5k wholesale, the residual value on these leases is very high - over $20,000. If the car is seized, or has a wreck that your insurance won't cover (you were drinking or something), then you are on the hook for a lot of money.

They are also ridiculously cheap to buy, somewhere between $6,200 and $8,500 for a good example. I saw one with 49,400 miles go for $4,700 from a dealer (right before I looked at it), and a lot have sold on eBay for $5400-$6300. "Frontline_remarketing" bought over a 100 of these cars last October, and has been selling them on eBay for cheap, actually pulling market prices down. Those cars have been sitting uncharged for a long time, and their condition varies. I don't like that the detailed pictures in his listings are often from cars he has already sold, so you don't see the actual car until after you have paid a non-refundable $250 deposit. I also don't like that he makes extensive use of shill bidders to drive his $1,000 no-reserve price up. Another eBay seller is EV_rides, a nice, informed guy with decent cars, but he values his cars higher than I did. I did most of my shopping on cars.com, there were 145 listed when I started, and 190+ when I last checked, so inventory is increasing. Sadly, many of these are offered by used car lots that sell to to people with credit problems who can't buy from a regular car dealer, so they are generally snotty and abusive and only interested if they feel you are trapped. I had a salesman walk away when he found out I was paying cash, another said the car would cost $500 more if I paid cash.

Leasing requires full insurance ($1100/year) but you can skip the collision rider if you own it ($375/yr), making leasing and owning cost the same amount. Leasing will give you a new, fully warranteed and fully insured car for three years. Owning means you can have it for more than 3 years, tinker with it as much as you like, and not worry about milage, door dings, seizures, or lease returns.

Accidents

I saw a few cars with clean carfaxes that I could tell had been in accidents. The factory striped the bolts on the front crossmember, which has to be removed to work on the front end, so if those stripes are missing you have to wonder why. Be suspicious of any car that was returned before the natural end of a lease unless it has more miles than the lease allows (12k/yr, so 24k for a 2-year and 36k for a 3-year)


Notes
=====

The 12v system is run from a large lead-acid 12v battery under the hood, which is charged by the high-voltage system. Reportedly this battery does not handle a deep discharge well, and the car does odd things when the voltage is low.

The car must shutdown completely before you connect the charger, or the charge will not actually start. This can also drain down the 12v battery, causing odd behaviors

Many people have had problems with the glovebox USB port, dealers suggest this is a problem with the USB drive vibrating and losing connection. 32gb is the largest USB drive I saw used.

Space behind passenger seat for tiny subwoofer filled with blank panel

HV pack disconnect is under rear seat middle, below protective cap

The car is equipped with a free Cellular mobile link, but it expires 3 years after the car is sold, and can never be renewed. There is an app you can use, not sure how it works out.

500e<2016, You can Bluetooth your phone for hands free, but have to USB for playlists. When I plug in my iPhone with USB, the car picks up whatever song/album/playlist was cued up. The steering wheel buttons work to track forward/track backward.

I am learning to not spin the tires on launch, but it is a challenge. Tires wear fast, especially fronts. Factory 185/55-15's, going to try 205/50-15's in sticker rubber to see if that reduces tire spin at launch for faster times. I'll lose range/efficiency, but that is not s problem for my duty cycle.

Does OK in crash tests and rollover roof tests. While it does wheel in head-on and partial overlap tests, it did not do well in the small overlap test. However most cars did poorly on this test, and the 500 showed less intrusion to the cabin than most. Driver/front passenger did OK in side impact due to airbag in seats, but rear passenger does not have this airbag and did not do well.

Off the charger, the GOM (guess-I-meter) estimates range based on how you drive the last 100 miles. After 10 miles, it estimates based on how you drove the last 10 miles. Turning on the ac or heat will drop estimated range 10 miles on a fresh charge, and this is reflected in the real world. People see shorter range and estimates in cold weather. The battery may discharge a little after full charge, to drive the heating/cooling system for the pack; this effect is heightened outside.

Jerky Torque steer, could be electric power steering or ESC too.

Early cars had TSB for non-watertight enclosure that actually replaced the inverter
Early cars had a recall for loose CV joint bolts
Early cars had chargers replaced a few times
Several TSBs to reprogram inverter and new software (parking pawl etc)
Some reports of keys getting stuck - special procedure to release them
Current TSB for purge valves on HV pack

A few reports of charging stations damaging chargers

Fiat "studios" closing has left people without service options or places to return their leases. Limited technicians - places who have it, might have 1 person with skills. Fiat refused to support these cars outside of California and Oregon, but that might be changing.

Bosch supplied the entire drivetrain/power system - tranny, motor, inverter, battery, and lots of sensory stuff. Probably why fiat claims this car costs them 14k more to make than the 32k msrp.

Unusual door locks - press the door handle inwards to lock - this is the opposite direction you would pull in to open the door.

Window switches are on the center console
Last edited by oatnet on Jun 08 2017 2:56pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by oatnet » Apr 26 2017 5:26pm

This does not show how dirty the white seats get, but you can see the splotchy leather on the steering wheel. I like the white interior, but because of how it ages I would pay far, far less for it.
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Joy is a JuiceBox Pro 40 240v/40a Level 2 EVSE

Post by oatnet » Apr 27 2017 12:40pm

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JuiceBox Pro 40 - Warhol Edition

Joy is a JuiceBox Pro 40 240v/40a Level 2 EVSE. The Fiat will take 30a (7.2kw) so I only need a 25 minute daily charge to keep topped off. There are free public L2 EVSE next to my daily exercise so "fuel" is free, meaning I may not even need this JuiceBox - but it is good to have around for days I need a second charge, plus it designed to be portable so I can take it with me on longer trips to fast charge elsewhere.

The "pro" feature means it has wifi built-in, so I can monitor charges on an App, see a list of previous charges, etc. I mostly got this because I monitor 120v charges with a kill-a-watt, and wanted the same info on 240v.

The can of Warhol soup is just for scale. :lol:
.
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Compare the cable on the right side, going into the white charge connector, to my fingers - it is massive.
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Plugged into the outlet I am going to install in my garage. It is watertight, which is overkill for an indoor install, but it was only $27 at Home Depot, which is oddly much cheaper there than I could find it anywhere else - most places wanted $50+ for it. I also sourced some massive 6ga MC cable for the 5' run between the panel and the outlet; I went for 6ga for future proofing, instead of the required 8ga/10ga.
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by cal3thousand » Apr 27 2017 1:37pm

I've been mildly interested in these cars lately and it is very nice of you to share your work!

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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by The fingers » Apr 27 2017 1:54pm

Also thanks for sharing, looks like a match made in heaven. Getting ready to retire myself and might check one out.
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by liveforphysics » Apr 27 2017 6:00pm

Congratulations! If you ever need to charge near Santa Cruz (Scotts Valley!) , 50A Jplug on a long cord in my driveway is welcome to you.

I got my wife a $6500 2013 LEAF with 2015 lizard lack warranty swap recently done, and 6kW onboard charger and CHAdeMO port that was a 3year lease return car. Lowest running leaf I've seen on Craigslist in the Bay area was $3200, lowest running fiat 500e $3900, lowest Spark EV $5100.

The GM spark the money it's an incredible stock drive train to use for something like your lotus 7. My friend Gabes Spark EV consistently beats another mutual friends Subaru STI with some mild tuning mods to 60mph. It would perhaps be a solution for cheap DIY EV superbike building.
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by Hillhater » Apr 27 2017 7:17pm

Oatnet..
Thanks for taking the time to post that review and shopping info. Its the best info pack on a vehicle of any type that i have seen anywhere ! Professional reviewers should take lessons from you.
Sadly,... Down here we have none of your options for used EVs, very few available of any type ..iMev possibly, and a few old Leaf models with high miles and huge prices (nothing under $15k) . A lease option for under $500 month is just a dream!
CA is definitely an EV owners paradise.
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by oatnet » Apr 27 2017 8:19pm

This is a 2017 in my color, so it has the nice in-dash Nav instead of the factory-mount TomTom. The video starts slow but the guy makes some good points - for him his lease is almost free.






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This is what my dash looks like
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by oatnet » Apr 27 2017 8:32pm

liveforphysics wrote:Congratulations! If you ever need to charge near Santa Cruz (Scotts Valley!) , 50A Jplug on a long cord in my driveway is welcome to you.

I got my wife a $6500 2013 LEAF with 2015 lizard lack warranty swap recently done, and 6kW onboard charger and CHAdeMO port that was a 3year lease return car. Lowest running leaf I've seen on Craigslist in the Bay area was $3200, lowest running fiat 500e $3900, lowest Spark EV $5100.

The GM spark the money it's an incredible stock drive train to use for something like your lotus 7. My friend Gabes Spark EV consistently beats another mutual friends Subaru STI with some mild tuning mods to 60mph. It would perhaps be a solution for cheap DIY EV superbike building.

I love the 400lb/ft Spark drivetrain. I'd totally do a dual-Spark build in a street-legal sandrail when I retire, if the management is off-the-shelf enough for my skillset.

Congrats on the Leaf! You always have a great garage. If you ever in LA feel free to stop in for a charge. :D
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by oatnet » Apr 27 2017 8:34pm

The fingers wrote:Also thanks for sharing, looks like a match made in heaven. Getting ready to retire myself and might check one out.
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Nice. A lot of good recordings made at the lighthouse.
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by oatnet » Apr 27 2017 8:34pm

cal3thousand wrote:I've been mildly interested in these cars lately and it is very nice of you to share your work!

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Thanks cal! :D
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by oatnet » Apr 27 2017 8:38pm

Hillhater wrote:Oatnet..
Thanks for taking the time to post that review and shopping info. Its the best info pack on a vehicle of any type that i have seen anywhere ! Professional reviewers should take lessons from you.
Sadly,... Down here we have none of your options for used EVs, very few available of any type ..iMev possibly, and a few old Leaf models with high miles and huge prices (nothing under $15k) . A lease option for under $500 month is just a dream!
CA is definitely an EV owners paradise.
Thanks Hill! :D

Most of that was a brain dump I did while I was searching cars and trying to figure out what was what, so very info dense. :lol:
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by Goathead » May 08 2017 6:30am

Got one myself and I pretty much blame Endless-sphere . . .

This write-up is one of the most concise I've ever seen on this car or any other.

I would add a couple of notes about CarMax where I purchased since, as noted in the first paragraph, these cars are geographically limited to California and Oregon (I saw a rumor of sales into Canada, but can't find that article again).

You can shop the entire CarMax dealer network nationwide. CarMax will transport a car between their stores for a couple hundred bucks. No obligation to buy.

They also let you try the car for 5 days to see if you like it with full return privileges.

No interest, stake or affiliation with CarMax, but they are making it easy.

What I do have is an interest in seeing this car spread across the country so that Fiat/Chrysler dealers have to bolster their support for it. Hoping, long run, that Marchionne realizes that with current events in India that he has a winning car and a huge market for the 500e.
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by kiwiev » May 24 2017 3:56pm

Hillhater wrote:Oatnet..
Thanks for taking the time to post that review and shopping info. Its the best info pack on a vehicle of any type that i have seen anywhere ! Professional reviewers should take lessons from you.
Sadly,... Down here we have none of your options for used EVs, very few available of any type ..iMev possibly, and a few old Leaf models with high miles and huge prices (nothing under $15k) . A lease option for under $500 month is just a dream!
CA is definitely an EV owners paradise.
Times 2

Sadly our government has not seen the EV green light yet great buy.

Cheers Kiwi

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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by maydaverave » May 24 2017 4:24pm

Man how do I get one in Florida. To little range to drive cross country.
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fechter   100 GW

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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by fechter » May 24 2017 10:36pm

There are lots of used ones listed on Craigslist. Many under $8k with fairly low mileage.
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oatnet   10 MW

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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by oatnet » Jun 04 2017 9:38pm

Congrats on your 500e Goathead! I wasn't seeing the best prices on CarMax, but the cheap shipping and return options may make it worthwhile to many.

Thanks Kiwiev, much of USA has not caught on, California is the exception. Heck, my local Electric company just started a program that is giving $450 to anyone who owns an EV - even if you are the 3rd owner, knocking my cost down to $7,350 - barely more than I paid for the doner car for my towdster build :shock: in a modern, well equipped EV.

Maydaverave, when I was looking, there were a few for sale in Florida. Cars.com was the best resource I found, eBay was pretty good too. Craigslist had some of the ones I saw on eBay (seller evrides) and others that had potential but weren't specifically what I was looking for. I checked all three compulsively, hourly, when I was searching. Here is a cars.com search, that cuts out the brand-new ones for "sale": https://www.cars.com/for-sale/searchres ... 1&zc=90504

Fechter, Craigslist is a great place to connect with an owner selling a used car. The downside on the 500e is that since most of these cars were leased, the resale channel is mostly through sketchy used car lots, and the car lots I see on Craigslist here in LA were not the best of the bunch. I did see a few by-owner sales though, they must have choked when they had to list their 32k car for less than a quarter of what they paid.

OTOH, prices seem to be moving up fast - I'd have to pay more than $1,500/20% more to get into the same car today, which would make those $49/$69 per month lease deals more attractive. They are getting really popular out here too - I used to see 1 a month, then 1 a week, now I see a 3-4 every time I go out.

I took a long drive up to Malibu to spend an afternoon with couple of brilliant gentlemen, and topped off with a 240v opportunity charge while there. I still had 50% charge when I got back, even though I spent some time at the 88mph speed governor, so in theory I could have done it all on a single charge. That said, unless it is an emergency or long trip I don't really want to take it below 20%, let alone the 5% "limp home mode", so that gives me a 65 mile range between recharges. I top it off every day so it is still way more range than I need, but not something I thought about before living with an EV. I get MUCH better range on the highway than I do around town, my drive is mostly suburban stop and start and like the feel of the pull off the line, so I burn through juice fast. Still, a Tesla or a Bolt have way more battery back than I need, although I can see why others might need it.

Some of the less positive stuff: I had to learn how to moderate acceleration when turning left or right from a stop, the wheels spin easily and the "electronic differential" (which uses the brakes :roll: ) makes the car dart in random directions. The transition from regen to hydraulic braking is dodgy too, the disk brakes come on STRONG at 3mph, resulting in a jerky stop - especially at the start of a drive, it gets better when the car warms up. Handling was awkward to me at first, but now that I am used to the car I find it quite capable. The Factory TomTom NAV was in the way, and I'd rather use Waze anyhow, so that has been sitting in the box since I tested it.

That said, I feel I have good sight lines all around the car, it is a pleasure to drive and well featured. After a few months, I still really enjoy driving it, and find it to be a good fit for my lifestyle. YMMV :D
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by edcastrovalley » Jun 13 2017 12:27am

Omg the market seems to be flooded with 500e lease returns, at least here in Northern Cal. Craigslist has 63 listed in the Bay Area. The same thing happened with my car, the Mitsubishi I-Miev. For the last 2 years there were always about a dozen or so on CL, now only 2 in all of Northern Cal. At least on Craigslist.

I would say if anyone is interested in an electric car and want a good deal, start looking through these 63! If you don't live around here, just look into having one shipped or go through a place like Carmax. If I didn't already have my I-miev (a very similar car in some ways) I would look into one of these.

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oatnet   10 MW

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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by oatnet » Jun 24 2017 7:50pm

1,000 miles in, I am still digging this car. On another note, here is someone else's 500e at a burnout competition:




And a link if you want to see more details at 720p:
https://youtu.be/Y-bJlcmnMdI
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by brokenblinker » Jun 27 2017 9:46am

I am considering picking up a 500e for my wife and I as a daily commuter for me (we already have a Honda Fit for her that is used a few times a week, but could be a back up ICE). My commute is only 30 miles each day, so it seems completely within a comfortable range for the vehicle. We both like the aesthetics of the 500e much more than the Spark ev which is the other contender - they also seem to go for a bit less.

Right now, I am most worried about resale value and/or battery replacement in a few years. I guess if I got one that was 2015, hopefully I wouldn't have to worry about that for quite a while. Your post was really helpful in thinking about all of this. Thanks!

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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by oatnet » Jun 28 2017 5:53pm

Hi brokenblinker,

Glad this helped, your duty cycle sounds ideal for an EV! Yep, with the 8 year/100k warrantee on the battery you wouldnt have to worry about it for 5.5 years on a 2015. Even so, it isn't like the pack goes off a cliff in 8 years - most batteries' cycle life is rated until they drop to 80% of original capacity, so even if you only had 81% capacity after 8 years, it would be able to do 2+ days of your commute. I wouldn't worry about the battery, or stick with a 2015 because you are worried about the battery - all years are the same car, with minor tweaks to the interior.

Cars will always depreciate, resale is always variable, but these are so deeply discounted it seems like the biggest hit has already been taken. The up front investment is so small, if you plan to drive it for a few years you will get more utility than depreciation. If you buy one for $6k, drive it for 6 years, and discover it is suddenly worth nothing... then you paid $1k/year to drive a car that listed at 32k new. Reality is it will be a running car with resale value, and even if it was just for the parts you'd still have a lot of value.

-JD
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by brokenblinker » Jun 29 2017 8:08pm

Those are all really great points. Seems I could get one here with ~20,000 miles for about $8K pre TTL. Currently, I'm commuting by motorcycle (otherwise commute is super long), but now that I have a real job (was a grad student), I'd really like to have an EV for commuting by car but maintaining HOV rights.

We're hoping to test drive the 500e and spark this weekend.

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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by Ykick » Jun 29 2017 9:32pm

I've been eyeing one as TOAD behind an RV. Test drove a couple and really liked them but stalled on whether I could get away with flat towing? I think it's possible without causing any damage but you would have to make sure and do a few things "just right" or else the system can and will throw itself into Park with ignition OFF or seatbelt unlatched below 2 MPH.

Apparently a "safety feature" because some people might step out of the car while it's still moving?

Also, not sure if the gas version tow bar mount would of any use? Probably not although I looked under the chassis and found several places to attach a drawbar so custom is on the table.

These cars would be great TOADs and local use.
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Re: Fiat 500e Frenzy

Post by Rassy » Jun 29 2017 9:43pm

Ykick, those cars are small enough I'd get or build a nice low two wheel or tandem wheel ramp trailer to carry it on. Much nicer to tow a trailer that you can actually back up, probably about the same drag on the tow vehicle, no wear and tear on the hauled vehicle, no special tow bar etc. required, and ready to go just as quickly when you reach your destination. Just my two cents. :D
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