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500e keeps retro-modern look and could be winner in U.S. urban markets.

What Range Anxiety? Dealers Snap Up Fiat 500e

Stellantis is launching the small, limited-range battery-electric-vehicle in March, and dealers are anxious to get them despite a slowdown in BEV demand.

Perhaps smaller is the way to go to drive battery-electric-vehicle sales.

The Fiat 500e, the first Stellantis-brand BEV for the U.S., is arriving at the end of March. The company says the first dealer allocation was spoken for in less than a week.

Ford CEO Jim Farley said last week that the Dearborn, MI, automaker is going smaller and cheaper by rapidly developing a BEV architecture aimed at increasing sales volumes of BEVs. He specifically cited the BYD Seagull as a budding phenomenon, which would be a competitor to the Fiat 500e should the Chinese company figure out a way to launch it in the U.S.

At a bit more than 3,000 lbs. (1,360 kg), the Fiat 500e will be the lightest, smallest BEV in the segment. It also will be among the least expensive BEVs, starting at $32,500 (an additional $1,595 for destination fees). The car does not qualify for the federal $7,500 tax credit, but Stellantis notes it will allow buyers to take advantage of government tax rebates in some states.

The car comes with a Level 2 charger or charging credits through Free2move Charge, a Stellantis-owned charging business.

The 500e is powered by a 118-hp electric motor allowing for a 149-mile (240-km) range, significantly lower than the 250- to 300-mile (403- to 483-km) minimum most automakers believe is necessary to attract consumers still fence-sitting about BEVs. But Stellantis and its dealers believe there is a market for BEVs at this cost and range in U.S. cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami and Washington, DC.

The 500e keeps the car’s retro-modern look, but with some updates to keep it competitive, compared with the version that was introduced to the U.S. more than a decade ago. A larger 10.3-in. (26-cm) touchscreen runs the Uconnect 5 infotainment system and interior materials and layout have been updated.

Stellantis overall is looking at a big year of BEV launches. Jeep is launching its first BEV, the Wagoneer, as well as the Wrangler-inspired Recon. Dodge will be launching the Charger BEV later this year, while Ram will launch its BEV pickup by the end of the year.

Despite a slowdown in demand, and rumors that the White House will roll back its EV mandates so that 60% of total vehicle sales are BEVs by 2030, Stellantis so far is sticking to its company goal of 50% of its sales being electrified by the end of the decade.

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