Fiat 500e on the move

Something interesting happened on the way to make the 2014 Fiat 500e a real car. As the idea for the car was bandied about in public for many years, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne complained bitterly, saying the only reason the car was coming to market was because mean ol' California was forcing Fiat to do so. This was after he said that Fiat would lose $10,000 on each one they sell. That's all pretty boilerplate stuff. What's interesting is that Fiat has gone ahead and priced the Fiat 500e so competitively that you'd think they wanted to sell a million of these things. Or lease a million, at least.

The Fiat 500e has a bargain lease price of $199/month for 36 months with $999 down.

That's the message we take away from the surprisingly affordable lease price of $199 a month for 36 months with $999 down. Those are the same numbers as if you went in to lease a gas-powered 500 Pop. If you want to buy the little electric vehicle outright, it'll cost you $32,500, but that's before a potential $7,500 federal tax credit and – since the car will only be sold in California, at least for the first year – the state will kick in another $2,500. Fiat is also promising company rebates that could drop the price down to $20,500, which puts the 500e well into the range of most of the people we know of in the EV buyer demographic.

The 500e is officially rated at 122 MPGe in the city, with highway efficiency at 108 MPGe, for a combined 116 MPGe. The official range number is an impressive 87 miles, and from what we've seen, that might be a low estimate. Throw in up to 12 days of free rental cars through Enterprise and something called the Fiat 500e Pass program and you've got a non-Tesla EV that allows drivers a long-distance solution when needed. The electric Cinquecento goes on sale in California this summer. Want one? Have your say in Comments.
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FIAT Brand North America Helps Make it Easy for Consumers to Purchase or Lease All- new 2013 Fiat 500e
  • The Fiat 500e launches in California with $199 a month lease payment for 36 months and $999 due at signing
  • Fiat 500e Pass to provide 500e owners with alternative transportation
  • 500e hotlines available in FIAT studios and after hours to access 500e experts
  • FIATUSA.com matches consumers with a Fiat 500 model based on their daily commute
  • Two retail distribution centers in California provide ample product choice and availability
  • FIAT studios in California each equipped with four charging stations
  • Standard navigation system shows driver locations of charging stations
  • Standard smartphone app provides locations of charging stations throughout the state
Auburn Hills, Mich. , Apr 13, 2013 - FIAT Brand North America is helping to make it easy for California residents to purchase or lease the all-new 2013 Fiat 500e when the electric vehicle (EV) goes on sale in the Golden State this summer.

The FIAT brand's 500e retail plan addresses concerns that have typically prevented some consumers from purchasing or leasing EVs in the past, including initial purchase price, driving range, and the unfamiliarity with charging and operating an EV.

"With unique Italian style, industry-best highway MPGe rating and class-leading combined driving range, we know we have a great car in our hands," said Tim Kuniskis Head of FIAT Brand North America. "Now our task is to simplify the customer's experience and make sure that people know how easy and affordable it can be to own our electric Cinquecento."

If you thought that purchasing or leasing an EV would come with a hefty premium, think again. The 500e will be offered to California residents at launch with a $199 a month/$999 due at signing lease for 36 months, same as the current lease offer on a Fiat 500 Pop powered by a gas engine.

The Fiat 500e is priced at $32,500 dollars MSRP. However, eligible California residents may be able to purchase the 500e for as low as $20,500, after federal credits, state incentives and FIAT rebates are included. That's about $200 less than the current starting price of a comparably-equipped Fiat 500 Lounge with a gas engine.

Alternative Transportation Program

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) testing has indicated that, when fully charged, the Fiat 500e will travel about 87 miles, which is best-in-class and better than all U.S.-market all-electric vehicles produced by high-volume manufacturers.

For those times when a 500e customer needs to drive beyond the vehicle's range or needs the carrying capability of a larger vehicle, the Fiat 500e retail plan provides an alternative transportation plan called the Fiat 500e Pass program.

The FIAT brand and Enterprise Holdings, owner and operator of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car, and National Car Rental brands, partnered on the Fiat 500e Pass program, which provides purchasers and lessees of a new 500e up to 12 days of alternate transportation each year for the first three years after the date of purchase.

The Fiat 500e Pass program is offered by FIAT exclusively in the U.S. to 500e customers as a standard feature. Through the program 500e customers will have access to vehicles such as the gas- powered Fiat 500, the coming Fiat 500L, the all-new Dodge Dart or the Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan. In addition, customers will have the flexibility to upgrade to a larger vehicle such as a minivan or a pickup truck subject to terms of the program.

"This innovative idea from the FIAT brand and Enterprise Holdings will provide purchasers of a new 500e with the opportunity to enjoy the exciting characteristics of this all-electric vehicle while giving them a flexible alternative in case they want to drive beyond the vehicle's range," said Kuniskis. "By addressing upfront the concerns and anxiety consumers may have about purchasing an electric vehicle, we are helping to make it easy and convenient to purchase or lease a Fiat 500e in the state of California."

The program will be valid at any Enterprise, Alamo or National car rental location throughout the U.S. Enterprise has more than 6,200 locations in the U.S. making the use of the Fiat 500e Pass easy and convenient for FIAT's customers.

When purchasers of a new 500e enroll in the Fiat 500e Pass program, Enterprise will provide them with an account number. For the first three years after purchase, each unique customer account will be allocated enough credits on the anniversary of their purchase date to cover the cost of 12 days of alternate transportation. The Fiat 500e Passes include unlimited mileage on eligible vehicles.

The 500e owner only has to choose an eligible vehicle and the expense of the vehicle and the applicable taxes will be covered subject to the terms and conditions of the program. Customers may choose to upgrade to a larger vehicle by utilizing additional credits or by separately paying for the difference.

A Fiat 500 that is right for you

Recognizing that a fully-electric vehicle may not be practical for everyone, FIATUSA.com is providing a compatibility matching service to help consumers determine which Fiat 500 model is best for them. The website will analyze a customer's daily commute and driving habits and match them with the Fiat 500 model that is right for them.

Each FIAT studio in California is equipped to answer any questions that consumers may have about this first fully-electric FIAT production vehicle. In addition to a well-trained sales and service staff, each studio will have a hotline linked to experts ready to answer consumer questions regarding the 500e, including the claim process for federal, state, and local tax credits, and a list of companies in California that offer incentives to their employees who purchase an electric vehicle.

A dedicated 500e customer care number will be available for any questions that consumers and owners may have after FIAT studios have closed for the day.

Two well-stocked retail distribution centers in California will provide customers with easy access to color and feature combinations that may not be available at their local studio, reducing wait time and the need for specials orders. Customers could have the exact 500e they want within hours, not weeks.

Each FIAT studio in California will have four charging stations. When 500e owners leave their studio with their new 500e, they will have the security of a standard navigation system that provides them with locations of the nearest charging stations along their routes. Once they plot their route, the navigation system also depicts their driving range with a circle around their location.

In addition to the in-vehicle navigation system, 500e owners also will get a Fiat 500e Smartphone App (compatible with iPhone and Android) that enables real-time vehicle status, manages charging, tracks the driver's energy use, locates the vehicle and nearby charging stations, plans and sends routes to the vehicle and provides text-message alerts.