Posted May 6th 2013 12:59PM
We began our Fiat 500e Los Angeles press-launch drive with 95 miles showing on our 500e's range gauge – interesting, since the car's EPA-rated range is 87 miles city/highway combined. Because the 500e's range-calculating algorithm looks at the last 100 miles, then the last 10 miles and the last five minutes, to account for recent change in energy usage, our 500e must have been hypermiled for some distance before we got into it to give us that starting point. Or the EPA's numbers are a bit conservative here.
We inserted ourselves into creepy-crawly LA morning traffic, then turned north up one of those twisty canyon roads where movie stars live. At the top, we headed west on the famous Mulholland Drive, and after a total of 11 miles, the last few uphill, we saw 47 miles of range remaining. Three miles further along curvy Mulholland, we were still showing 47 miles.
"It handles like a heavy Fiat 500," observed my co-driver. "I like it."
"It handles like a heavy Fiat 500," observed my co-driver from behind the wheel. "I like it." The 500e's heated and cooled 24-kWh battery pack is tightly packed under the floor to lower the car's center of gravity and minimize loss of cabin room. And we both agreed that the 500e was exceptionally quiet, even at wide-open-throttle.
Then, we turned downhill and started gaining range thanks to the regenerative brakes – 53 miles at 17 miles driven; 55 at 18.6 miles; 57 at 21.2. Then it was my turn to drive.