Discussion in 'Nuova 500' started by Brett, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. Brett

    Brett True Classic

    Molalla, Oregon
    Well, I decided to get a 500e for my commute. I actually rented one for a couple of days to make sure I could do it. They are fun to drive. Different fun. Certainly NOT like the X. But a re-charge at work that cost 98 cents after my 43 mile drive was nice :)
  2. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    Cool. They don't offer them here, it would likely exactly fit the bill for me as I rarely drive more then 30 miles a day.
  3. geekdaddy

    geekdaddy X1/9 Learner's Permit...

    Hey I just purchased one as well! An off lease 2015 that looks nearly new and still under factory warranty for $7k. Not for sale in NH but found it in FL and shipped it north. Test drive was good fun and looking forward to driving it regularly.
  4. jvandyke

    jvandyke True Classic

    West Michigan
    Nice, I was watching one on ebay a week or so ago and can't believe how cheap they sell. Very tempting. Why are they so cheap?
    kmead likes this.
  5. Greg (in Conn)

    Greg (in Conn) X driver- Bertone curator

    I don't even care for the 500 look that much and it's got me intrigued for another toy.
    What happens if you have a malfunction issue outside of California though?
    You hear nothing but problems with Fiat dealerships as it is...

    Imagine a dealership that's never seen an electric Fiat..yikes.

    But still.. for this price how can you complain.

  6. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Missouri, USA
    There are quite a few 500e Fiats showing up on CL here in the midwest. I was surprised since they weren't offered here new. It would be an interesting car for my daughter, she works less than a mile from home and her community college is only a 10 mile round trip. She has a 2001 Beetle that has seen better days.

    Brett and Geekdaddy, could you give us a report back on your impressions after you drive the cars for a while? Thanks!
  7. Greg (in Conn)

    Greg (in Conn) X driver- Bertone curator

  8. raillard

    raillard True Classic

    A little over a month ago I purchased a used 2013 500e from Frontline Remarketing, a used car dealer in Southern California. [link shared by Greg above, while I was writing my long-winded post!] I was checking out various 500e listings on eBay, and noticed that in So. Calif. most of them were ending around $6000 -- very sweet deals. Frontline was showcasing their used 500e's with lots of nice high-rez photos, and when I saw one particular 500e it was love at first sight! I don't like getting caught up in auction fever, so I had a maximum dollar amount in mind, and I was the winning bidder at just a bit below my maximum. I flew down to Bob Hope Airport, and after a short train hop, and a short walk, I was at the dealership. It's owned and run by a friendly young couple, and soon I was starting my fun adventure of driving the car back home. According to the AutoCheck report it was originally owned in San Francisco, and I live about an hour north of S.F., so the car was going back home, to the Bay Area, too!

    To answer Jeff's question "Why are they so cheap?" I can think of three reasons:

    First, in America the manufacturers are compelled to make a certain number of clean, alternative fuel cars, and Fiat chose to electrify the 500 for the California and Oregon markets. The technology is still pricey, compared to regular gas models, so they start out higher in price, but are still too expensive to attract buyers away from the gas vehicles. The shorter range, and long-to-very-long fill-up times also act as a deterrent to sales. I've read that Fiat is selling the 500e at a loss, just to meet government quotas for clean air car sales.

    Second, the original owner (very often a leasing company) can take advantage of federal tax credits and state rebate incentives of $7500 and $2500, when buying a new 500e. This is another attempt to compensate for the greater expense of the newer motive technology, and its current deficiencies. Leasing companies often turned around and used at least some of the incentives to help create attractive lease terms. Recently the 2013 models started coming off their 3-year leases, and my car was one of those. They still have about one more year to go on their warranty, and almost 5 more years to go on their battery pack warranty.

    Last, but not least, if the seller (private individual, or dealer) is not overly greedy, they can take a vehicle that has already been priced below cost, and already taken advantage of thousands of dollars in incentives, and pass the savings onto the next owner. I was looking at some used 500e's in the Bay Area, too, both inside and outside eBay, but the prices were mostly in the $8000 to $9000 range. The dealer I bought from presented their cars with great photos, and offered them with no-reserve eBay auctions starting at $1000. They were not greedy, but willing to let the potential buyers bid the cars up towards their actual value to the buyers.

    If there's interest, I'll gladly share more about why I bought the car, and about my fun and interesting long-range electric car trip between Northridge and Sebastopol.
    ~ Hans
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
  9. Greg (in Conn)

    Greg (in Conn) X driver- Bertone curator

    Great stuff Hans. Share that long-range story please when time allows.:)

    This just hit the news today.
    Sergio said they took a $14,000 loss on each 500e sale..wow.
    You are getting a ton of value for what you're paying that is for sure!
    Fiat 500e leases for less than a smartphone
    ((Edit: Link dies if you're not a subscriber so here's the cut&paste.))

    If the economics of electric vehicles seem less than sound, consider this: In Southern California, it can be cheaper to lease a Fiat 500e for three years than to lease a working smartphone.

    The Fiat 500e -- the car Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne once told consumers not to buy because he lost $14,000 on each sale -- was being advertised widely in Southern California last month for as little as $69 per month for a 36-month lease, with no money down.

    Seem cheap? That monthly payment was $20 higher than it was around Black Friday in November.

    The 500e, which was introduced for the 2013 model year, is a "compliance car" -- a vehicle whose sole purpose is to satisfy clean-air regulations in California and other states mandating the sale of zero-emission vehicles. And while Marchionne took heat in 2014 for trying to steer consumers away because of the losses the 500e generates, the automaker needs those sales to be able to keep selling Jeeps, Rams, Dodges and Chryslers in the largest state market.

    CEO Sergio Marchionne once told consumers not to buy the 500e because he lost $14,000 on each sale. Photo credit: Reuters
    Here's how the Southern California lease deal worked, according to dealership websites in the region:

    The 500e was advertised for $33,295. To make the deal work, the leasing company took ownership of the federal, state and local ZEV tax credits and rebates due to the lessee, along with factory rebates and another $1,000 incentive if the incoming trade-in was a lease conquest. Lessees were limited to putting 10,000 miles a year on the cars. The deals didn't work everywhere or for everybody because some localities have air quality rebates that others don't, and some rebates are limited based on income.

    Add it all up, though, and it's still a lot of money. According to J.D. Power PIN data, the average transaction price for the Fiat 500e was $11,129 in February, while the average incentive dollars-per-unit spend was $14,463. That gave the 500e an average incentive spend of 130 percent of its average transaction price last month.

    An FCA spokesman declined to comment on the 500e's collective incentives. However, an FCA source said the automaker had no role in the lease deals being offered through the company's preferred lending partner, Chrysler Capital.

    The Fiat 500e has changed little since it was introduced in the summer of 2013, even as other automakers have upped the capabilities of their electric offerings. For example, the 500e's 84-mile EPA estimated range on a full charge is now dwarfed by competitors such as the Chevy Bolt, with a 238-mile estimated range.

    According to dealer websites advertising the cheap leases, the 500e would have a residual of $19,977 at the end of the lease term. Those estimates might be generous. According to GreenCarReports.com, off-lease 2013 Fiat 500es were being listed on Manheim auction sites in Southern California late last year for as little as $4,100.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
  10. jvandyke

    jvandyke True Classic

    West Michigan
    wow for that kind of coin you could run the 500 for a few years then electrify an X with it's running gear and scrap the 500e shell.
    kmead likes this.
  11. lanciahf

    lanciahf True Classic

    New Jersey
    Sergio is the best poker player in the business and the worst automotive ceo. Someone should tell him its okay to have good products.
  12. zonker

    zonker Just Another FIAT Freak

    Sun City, CA
    ^^^^^ EXACTLY ^^^^^

    I'd think a 128 coupe or sedan converted to 500e motorvation would be a really fun project as well.
    kmead likes this.
  13. geekdaddy

    geekdaddy X1/9 Learner's Permit...

    IMO these cars are are dirt cheap and an excellent value for several reasons:
    1. They were heavily subsidized. CA requires each manufacturer to ship a specific pct of vehicles (10 pct?) as EV's AND both the feds and CA gov't offer tax credits to those who do. So... FCA was forced to do SOMETHING. The original 500e estimated cost to build: $40K. Selling price: ~$32K. Cost to consumer after subsidies: ~$22-23K. Fiat also offered several dirt-cheap lease options to ensure they hit their numbers.
    2. FCA does not want lease-returns on dealer lots. Why? Because they have to sell more NEW ones to hit their targets. So secondary dealers are taking them from the dealer auctions.
    3. Limited utility. The 500e has a range of ~90 miles. Even though studies show MOST folks drive far less than that on MOST days. But what about the days where you do need to travel further? So potentially good a a 2nd car in the family but too limited for many folks as a single-vehicle.
    4. No DC fast charge. The 500e can charge relatively fast (4 hours on a level 2 charger). But does not support DC fast charging which allows teslas, leafs, and other vehicles to charge 70-80% in 30 minutes. Not a HUGE deal but still a small issue.
    5. Battery liability. Many folks are concerned with battery replacement costs. Although Fiat and alL EV manufacturers are required to warrant for 8 years or 150 miles. Early Nissan Leaf's were known to have significant battery degredation although the 500e's battery is kept cool and generally considered more robust. So perhaps not a big deal. But nobody knows how well they will actually honor these warranties and of course you could own a 2013 500e in 2021 which requires a $10K battery replacement which is now out of warranty.
    6. Gas is cheap (right now).
    From my POV this is a 2nd car for us. We have another vehicle when a family member needs to travel more than 80 miles round trip.
    I considered buying a conventional economy car. A comparable 2015 model with similar mileage would cost $2-5K more depending on the make/model.
    The 500e will cost me at least $1K less per year to operate. So even if it's worth nothing in 5 years I'm likely far ahead financially.
    Plus they are super fun to drive and really cool (IMO).
    ...and my 15 year old will also be driving it and I really don't want to invest a lot of $$$ in a vehicle that a new teen driver will be using. :)

    If my 500e has a lot of issues and/or Fiat won't provide adequate service I'll regret this.
    If it's relatively trouble-free and gas goes up to $4/gallon in the next few years I will consider myself a genius.

    Attached Files:

    zonker likes this.
  14. geekdaddy

    geekdaddy X1/9 Learner's Permit...

    Some risk for folks who need service outside of CA. However, I checked with my local Chrysler dealer about six weeks ago when I first began looking at them. At that time the service manager confirmed they had recently received all the diagnostic tools and equipment to service 500e's (I said "this is the 500 EEE and not the gas powered 500, right???" and he said "yes") and their techs would be trained by the end of Feb. Still, I'm gonna assume they won't be especially skillful at diagnosing and servicing them...

  15. Greg (in Conn)

    Greg (in Conn) X driver- Bertone curator

    Lot of YouTube videos up showing how fun they are to drive so for the price tag very doubtful there will be any regrets.
    Leather buckets and a sharp color!
    Nice way for someone to get a start with an E car.
    What's the alternative for the money a Smart clown car.;)
    Enjoy it for sure!
  16. raillard

    raillard True Classic

    Will do! I'm hoping to have some extra time after office-bookkeeping/tax season is over.

    Meanwhile, I wanted to touch upon your earlier post, and geekdaddy's post, about servicing concerns for the 500e, which have already affected me. First, a comment about my X1/9's: For simple things, such as brakes, tires, oil changes, etc., my two X's can visit a good local shop in Sebastopol, but for full engine tune-ups, clutch jobs, and other more complicated servicing I take them to a Fiat specialist in Napa, about 37 miles away.

    After bringing my used 500e home, I went online to FiatUSA to schedule a service appointment at the nearest Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/Fiat dealer, which is about 9 miles away in Santa Rosa. The fact is the previous owner took care of several recall events, but not one from May 2016, which is a safety recall also involving firmware reprogramming (they're slowly debugging the car!) The next day I received a voicemail from the service department, with apologies that their website allowed me to make the appointment, when they do not have any 500e certified technicians in Santa Rosa. The nearest Fiat dealership with electric car technicians is in Berkeley, about 55 miles away. There used to be a Fiat dealership in Santa Rosa, which sold and serviced 500e's, but it has closed down. The other nearby dealerships will gladly work on the standard gas 500's, but not the electric 500e. A round trip to Berkeley is also a little beyond the range of the 500e, so I will need to charge it up a bit either on the way there, at the shop, or on the way back. I don't mind -- it's all part of the adventure and fun of adopting young, cutting-edge technology. However, it's ironic that my 35 and 32-year-old Fiat and Bertone can be fully serviced at a shop that is closer in time and distance, than the shop that can service my 4-year-old 500e. And I'm in California -- electric car heaven!
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  17. Brett

    Brett True Classic

    Molalla, Oregon
    OK, so I've had mine for 2 years, so I think I can chime in on the "long term road test"

    It's a great car as long as you aren't going too far, or have access to other cars for when you ARE going far.
    I live right on the edge of this car working for me. In fact, in the winter I can't reliably go to the airport and back, though in the summer it's no problem at all. For me, it's about 45 miles between my house and work (90 miles round trip). I spend less than $2 on average in electricity for that daily commute. At 30mpg, and $2.50/gallon, I'd be spending $7.50. When gas was $4 per gallon, that was $12/day. So I save AT LEAST $5/day. Not counting that the 500e doesn't require oil changes or really any other maintenance. At 2 years and close to 30k miles my 500e has been completely trouble free. I have access to charging at work, so despite my long commute, I've never even been close to running out of charge. If it's a risky trip (to the airport in winter) I just take a different car. It's very quiet. I can easily take work calls during my commute. That's actually another reason I bought it. I can't do that in my X, even the best "noise cancelling" headsets no one can hear me and I can't hear them well. A con to the quiet ride is that you have to pay attention in parking lots as pedestrians will step out in front of you. Its awesome in stop and go traffic. All the benefits of an automatic and not having to row the gears, but with no lag as you usually have in an auto. Plus it can sit and not use fuel or charge. And it regenerates energy as you come to that stop. I used to get really frustrated and grumpy in stop and go traffic, now I just get slightly annoyed. It also holds a surprising amount of cargo for a small car with the rear seats folded down. Or is reasonably comfortable for 4 smallish adults with the rear seats in use. Overall it's great. And the amount I save in gas per day makes it close to completely offsetting the lease and nearly allows me to drive it for free. I think I worked the math out that I'm paying around $40/month to drive a very nice new car. My lease is higher because I have the absolutely most loaded options you could get and the most miles at 15k/year. The $69/month were usually 10k/year base models. At those lower lease figures I would be driving for free.

    What I don't like about it - When driving it, I miss the more engaged nature of my X. That would be true of nearly any new car though, all the creature comforts and quietness and no need to shift all remove you from the actual driving experience. The car comfortably takes you places, but there is less joy in the journey. And the limited range. It would be nice if I lived just a *bit* closer to work, the downtown metro area, and the airport so I didn't need to worry about charging when away from home. That's a price I pay for having a small farm and living in the sticks. I think for most people the 500e will work perfectly except for vacation type road trips.

    In two years I have literally done nothing but drive it and plug it in. It is due for tires though. And at the 2 year and 30k mile mark I have not noticed any difference in battery performance or range. (Leaf batteries are known to degrade pretty significantly. Some feel that is because they are only air cooled as opposed to the water cooled in the 500e, plus the fact that the 500e doesn't allow fast charge which might damage batteries as well).

    I'll be interested to see what happens next year when my lease is completed. The lease agreement has an option to purchase at some ridiculous price like $19k (the leases are really really cheap because they take the $32k list price, minus all the incentives and then have a residual value as if all incentives are no longer available on NEW electric vehicles so that USED ones don't have to compete with new subsidies). No way I'm paying that much for a 3 year old, 45k miles electric car. But for $6-8k I'd be tempted to keep it. :)
    I would keep it for sure, or buy one of the others coming off lease for the prices that they are going at except I have limited driveway space and there is no way I'm giving up my X. And I am thinking about going completely in the opposite direction and getting a gas guzzling SUV because I think I want a new hobby of 4x4 camping and after the amount of snow and ice we got this year, I'd like something better for that. And gas is cheap now. And I have an X that I love to drive. :)
    raillard and kmead like this.
  18. geekdaddy

    geekdaddy X1/9 Learner's Permit...

    Well said Brett! My (shorter) experience has been very similar to yours. In the New England winters, my range drops A LOT (60 miles?) and I can tell that it's much better even as temps creep up to 50-ish here. At the current wholesale dealer pricing, this seems like a bargain and I wonder if prices will go up -- especially if/when gas prices rise. One interesting sidenote: EVERYONE in my household wants to drive it. THis was my choice, but now I arm-wrestle with my wife who previously ONLY wanted to drive our SUV. I think it's the car's "cuteness", responsive throttle and handling, and quiet road manners. I'm very happy thus far. Local Chrysler dealer now services the 500e (he's serviced TWO at this point :) ) and I'll have my first appt next week for a state vehicle inspection and check-up.
    raillard likes this.
  19. geekdaddy

    geekdaddy X1/9 Learner's Permit...

    Still Loving our "Baby Blu" this far. Only problem is I don't get to drive it much. It's Karen's first choice for every round trip under 80 miles. I think she looks pretty cool driving it though...
  20. Andy

    Andy True Classic

    Medford, Oregon
    I have joined the ranks of 500e owners! I bought a 2014 500e Sport last weekend. I agree with everything stated above, my commute is only about 5 miles so I can get a weeks worth of commuting on one charge.
    500e.jpg 500e interior.jpg 500e 168MPG.jpg
    168 MPG! (equivalent)

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