First Drive: 2013 Fiat 500e

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By Sebastian Blanco

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Cinquecento’s Electrifying One-Price Strategy Is A Gas

America’s electric vehicle segment is getting crowded, but sales remain tiny compared to the overall market. Listening to EV pitchmen, a key phrase heard over and over is “no compromises.” This particular EV, the seller says, offers all* the things you want in a car, without the gasoline and without compromises. That asterisk thing? Well, sure, the electric vehicle paradigm requires you rethink the “one car that does everything” mentality, but once that’s out of the way, there are no compromises here. No siree.

Of course, all EVs require compromises – but the truth is that every car forces owners to make compromises. Big SUVs don’t always fit into parking spaces and suck down fuel. Subcompacts can’t hold a gaggle of children and dogs. High-performance sports cars compromise wallets. Once you wrap your head around the idea that choosing electric is an option just like vehicle size or color – where no one choice is right for everybody, even if it’s perfect for some – the 2014 Fiat 500e, going on sale this summer, asks a simple question: when you’re driving in a city, why would you drive anything except an EV?

Fiat has been making the 500e at its Toluca, Mexico plant since early December, but it isn’t busy building a million so that just anyone can own one. In fact, the automaker is going out of its way to make sure you don’t buy a 500e if it’s not right for you. The official website will soon have a “compatibility matching service” that will use information you feed it to determine if you’re an EV candidate (we’re guessing a short commute, an understanding of new technology and a place to charge at home will be the key factors). If the system doesn’t think you’re EV-ready, it’ll propose a different 500 for you. Nice, huh?

So, does the 500e actually offer pure electric mobility without compromises? Yes and no. Mostly yes, and it’s a fun yes.

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2013 Fiat 500e originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Apr 2013 11:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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