It probably hasn't escaped your notice that, among the flurry of new electric vehicles reaching showrooms, there are very few smaller, cheaper EVs. As we noted last week, automakers have been concentrating on the upper end of the market, mostly building premium electric SUVs that bring in fat profit margins (or perhaps costing the OEM smaller losses). But early next year, another smaller, cheaper EV will reach the US—the 2024 Fiat 500e.
We've known for some time that the 500e was US-bound; Fiat broke that news in 2022. But it has now released a lot more information on the 500e, which is coming here at first as a (RED) edition, meaning it might match your iPhone or iPod. Fiat says it's incorporating a "product drop" strategy, so expect other special editions accompanied by as much hype as the automaker can generate, presumably.
Regarding specs, it looks like Fiat used the Mini Cooper SE as the benchmark and then set out to beat it in various attributes. The 500e has a curb weight of 2,952 lbs (1,342 kg), which Fiat says makes it the lightest passenger EV in the segment, so it's about one small adult lighter than the Mini.
It'll go farther than the Mini on a single charge, too. A full charge of the 42 kWh battery should enable a range of up to 149 miles (240 km). Recharging times are 35 minutes from 0–80 percent at a maximum of 85 kW at a CCS1 DC fast charger or 4 hours 15 min from 0–100 percent with a 48 A level 2 AC charger.
The Fiat 500e will be a less zippy car, however; with just 118 hp (88 kW) and 162 lb-ft (220 Nm), it's less powerful than the Mini.
Sadly, it's also a little more expensive than the electric Mini. The (500e)RED starts at $32,500 with the $1,595 destination fee. That includes a home level 2 charger or charging credits through Free2Move, which is parent company Stellantis' "360-degree ecosystem delivering seamless charging and energy management to address all electric-vehicle customer needs." Since the EV is built in Italy, it won't be eligible for the IRS clean vehicle credit unless it's leased.
That comment about making smaller losses earlier may be relevant here—the previous Fiat 500e was so expensive to make that the late Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne said the company lost $20,000 on every one it sold in the US. Presumably, Fiat has better economics this time around.