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View Full Version : My Fiat 500e is better than my wife's Tesla Model S



tpoltron
07-18-2013, 03:00 AM
Hi There,

My wife got a Tesla Model S a couple months ago and I soon lost interest in all vehicles than burn stuff. Given my EV envy, I signed up early for a 500e and besides the deceitful $199 lease price that no one can get (my base model was unjustifiably 22% more), I love the car so far.

In several ways the 500e is better than our Model S:
- it has rear parking sensors - not an option on the MS, though it does have a rear view camera
- it is much easier to maneuver and park - the MS is very long and wide
- the heater / AC controls (and some other switchgear) are more normal and seem to work better
- the regenerative braking is better blended with the friction braking (on the MS regen seems to only occur on throttle lift off, not with the brake pedal, which makes 1 pedal driving quite possible but also makes it hard to coast and takes some getting used to).
- uses a standard J1772 charger plug (though that is slower than Tesla's proprietary plug, and Tesla does supply an adapter)
- will not be driven mostly by old guys
- though less svelte the 500e is cuter and silly happy, on the interior as well
- the 500e is 1/2 to 1/3 the price!

In other ways they are on par:
- low speed acceleration (though off the line the FWD 500e torque steers and scrambles for traction where the much more powerful RWD MS stays composed, and let's not talk about the difference at high speeds)
- interior quiet is way more close than I expected, though on rougher pavement the 500e does let in a bit more road noise
- neither have spare tires
- I'd love to compare their speed trough a slalom course, the 500e might well win (cause it handles well and has to move so much less side to side given the width difference)
- their leases are both rather misleading - though at least Tesla moderated their claims after the public outcry
- cellphone integration, bluetooth, voice control etc

Besides the obvious range, size and power advantages there are a few other things the Tesla is doing really better with the Model S though:
- they are truly committed to electric cars - not just California compliance
- since it was designed from the ground up as an EV, the MS has more interior space than a similarly sized ICE where the 500e has less than its gas brethren
- recharging from a Supercharger at 90kw (14x the 500e and soon rising to 120kw = 18x) is amazing and a lot more like filling up at a station that you'd think
- the one-price, online sales model - please lets change all car company dealerships to from sales to service centers!
- navigation is not an ugly, cheap add on
- the entire vehicle user interface, though almost all via screens, is pretty slick and very much the future
- the sunroof adds adds as much headroom on the MS as it takes away on the 500e - Fiat your engineers are really now better that this
- the Italian ergonomics for short legs and long arms is still there in the Fiat, just like my 1975 Fiat Spyder

Ultimately they are both great cars that I enjoy driving. Fiat has the engineering talent, I just wish Sergio would let them make a really honest EV effort.

Regards,
Trent

ReconTopher
07-18-2013, 09:28 AM
I thought the 22 percent price difference was justified, as dealer contribution. ;)

msjulie33
07-18-2013, 09:53 AM
Please post pictures

tpoltron
07-18-2013, 10:50 AM
Here's pics from fresh off the truck, before they even removed all the plastic.
Regards,
Trent
7105
7106

Andree
07-18-2013, 06:00 PM
Amazing, the interior is wonderful. And it looks like the Electric Orange is a color changer, depending on lighting. So cool. Congrats again.

danny_1
07-18-2013, 06:16 PM
Hi There,

My wife got a Tesla Model S a couple months ago and I soon lost interest in all vehicles than burn stuff. Given my EV envy, I signed up early for a 500e and besides the deceitful $199 lease price that no one can get (my base model was unjustifiably 22% more), I love the car so far.

In several ways the 500e is better than our Model S:
- it has rear parking sensors - not an option on the MS, though it does have a rear view camera
- it is much easier to maneuver and park - the MS is very long and wide
- the heater / AC controls (and some other switchgear) are more normal and seem to work better
- the regenerative braking is better blended with the friction braking (on the MS regen seems to only occur on throttle lift off, not with the brake pedal, which makes 1 pedal driving quite possible but also makes it hard to coast and takes some getting used to).
- uses a standard J1772 charger plug (though that is slower than Tesla's proprietary plug, and Tesla does supply an adapter)
- will not be driven mostly by old guys
- though less svelte the 500e is cuter and silly happy, on the interior as well
- the 500e is 1/2 to 1/3 the price!

In other ways they are on par:
- low speed acceleration (though off the line the FWD 500e torque steers and scrambles for traction where the much more powerful RWD MS stays composed, and let's not talk about the difference at high speeds)
- interior quiet is way more close than I expected, though on rougher pavement the 500e does let in a bit more road noise
- neither have spare tires
- I'd love to compare their speed trough a slalom course, the 500e might well win (cause it handles well and has to move so much less side to side given the width difference)
- their leases are both rather misleading - though at least Tesla moderated their claims after the public outcry
- cellphone integration, bluetooth, voice control etc

Besides the obvious range, size and power advantages there are a few other things the Tesla is doing really better with the Model S though:
- they are truly committed to electric cars - not just California compliance
- since it was designed from the ground up as an EV, the MS has more interior space than a similarly sized ICE where the 500e has less than its gas brethren
- recharging from a Supercharger at 90kw (14x the 500e and soon rising to 120kw = 18x) is amazing and a lot more like filling up at a station that you'd think
- the one-price, online sales model - please lets change all car company dealerships to from sales to service centers!
- navigation is not an ugly, cheap add on
- the entire vehicle user interface, though almost all via screens, is pretty slick and very much the future
- the sunroof adds adds as much headroom on the MS as it takes away on the 500e - Fiat your engineers are really now better that this
- the Italian ergonomics for short legs and long arms is still there in the Fiat, just like my 1975 Fiat Spyder

Ultimately they are both great cars that I enjoy driving. Fiat has the engineering talent, I just wish Sergio would let them make a really honest EV effort.

Regards,
Trent

Nice post. Good info and opinions. I liked the Tesla but I don't want to spend that much money on a car unless it is a car that I have been dying to own for a long time. I REALLY hope that Tesla makes it as a long-term auto mfr and I seriously hope that they beat everyone else in the electric car market. I like that they are an American company and that they are trying to be cutting edge.

My fear is that the Chinese will be able to create cheaper electrics than we can. And since they cannot compete in ICE cars then this seems like a perfect time for them to just give up on ICE and focus primarily on electrics. Their manufacturing expertise and the fact that most batteries come from there should give them a huge advantage. I think about it this way: if Fiat and Smart can basically make a DIY conversion then the Chinese should be able to come up with a halfway decent looking tiny car and then add the motors and batteries easily. I bet that they could build a knock-off of something like the Fiat (not as cool though) for about 60-70% of what it costs Fiat to build.

Either way, I like the job that the engineering team at Fiat did on this version. I hope it has no long-term issues though.

I am all electric now (well...i have to sell my 2 ICE cars this weekend). 2 Fiat 500e's (one now; the other in a couple weeks hopefully) and one electric motorcycle.

ReconTopher
07-18-2013, 09:04 PM
I watched a youtube vid today of the Tesla plant building the Model S. It was pretty cool, way advanced compared to the Fiat factory in Mexico.

tpoltron
07-19-2013, 11:12 AM
I looked out the window this morning and smiled at what I saw:

7114

ChrisMac
07-19-2013, 08:18 PM
Original poster nailed it.

Got my 500e yesterday. Test drove the tesla model s three weeks ago. The tesla is awesome. And I love what they are doing for electric car progression. But I walked away thinking the Tesla is not $70000-90000 awesome (maybe I'd pay 50k for the 85kwh with all the bells and whistles). Maybe. The 500e, on the other hand is a ton of fun for the price. While the model s is much faster, The Fiat is a lot zippier and more fun to drive in an urban setting. 7115
The 500e is of course way easier to park and the turning radius is insane. My dealer said I can take the $2500 CA tax credit even though I am leasing. If true, then that nearly covers the first year of lease payments!

I think this wired mag review captures why the 500e is THE electric car for folks that don't have $70-90k to burn on a tesla http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/04/2013-fiat-500e/

I also drove the fit ev. Great car and more practical, but less fun.

Andree
07-19-2013, 09:20 PM
Original poster nailed it.

Got my 500e yesterday. Test drove the tesla model s three weeks ago. The tesla is awesome. And I love what they are doing for electric car progression. But I walked away thinking the Tesla is not $70000-90000 awesome (maybe I'd pay 50k for the 85kwh with all the bells and whistles). Maybe. The 500e, on the other hand is a ton of fun for the price. While the model s is much faster, The Fiat is a lot zippier and more fun to drive in an urban setting. 7115
The 500e is of course way easier to park and the turning radius is insane. My dealer said I can take the $2500 CA tax credit even though I am leasing. If true, then that nearly covers the first year of lease payments!

I think this wired mag review captures why the 500e is THE electric car for folks that don't have $70-90k to burn on a tesla http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/04/2013-fiat-500e/

I also drove the fit ev. Great car and more practical, but less fun.

Welcome (to the forum), thanks for the photo, looks awesome. Grigio eSport! Wooo!

I didn't realize you could get the rebate in CA if leasing, but sure enough, it's right there in the requirements:
http://energycenter.org/index.php/incentive-programs/clean-vehicle-rebate-project/fiat-500e-requirements

Andree
07-20-2013, 05:48 AM
Whoa! I just noticed in the photo the rear view mirror, I knew it was the orange, but for some reason I thought it would be a regular gloss. It's the same as the Electric Orange paint, isn't it? So it has the color change, and it's gold in the sun. Nice!

tpoltron
07-20-2013, 12:31 PM
When I ordered the car I didn't even know the orange paint was metallic. It's glistens and color shifts nicely.

I should have highlighted color selection in my post. Almost all the Tesla colors are dark, dull and serious. The red my wife got is nice though.

ReconTopher
07-20-2013, 01:09 PM
I'm curious what happens if you don't keep the electric cars for the 3 years to receive the rebate. Does Cal. try to come after you for a prorated fee for the rebate?

Andree
07-20-2013, 06:17 PM
I'm curious what happens if you don't keep the electric cars for the 3 years to receive the rebate. Does Cal. try to come after you for a prorated fee for the rebate?

Yes (on the wanting the rebate back):

*Note: ARB will be periodically checking vehicle identification numbers with vehicle registrations to ensure that CVRP applicants meet this requirement. If an applicant breaks this requirement, ARB or its designee reserves the right to recoup CVRP funds from the original vehicle purchaser identified on the rebate form and may pursue other remedies available under the law. Resale of a vehicle or return to a dealer may be allowed on a case-by-case basis with prior approval by the ARB for unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances.

http://energycenter.org/index.php/incentive-programs/clean-vehicle-rebate-project/fiat-500e-requirements

Most obvious way to collect would be to place a lien on the title.

And most obvious reason for an allowable resale/return to dealer would be if the owner died. Or disability. Believe me, I didn't plan on becoming disabled. It changed everything. Job loss, etc etc etc.

TrinitySRT
07-22-2013, 06:24 PM
I know this is a Fiat forum... but oh my please post pics of the Tesla! lol

rhurrey
07-22-2013, 08:14 PM
I am REALLY enjoying my 500e... to the point were my long term goal of getting the gen 3 Tesla might change now. I am leasing but at the end if its held up well, drives well and still in great shape I might just buy a new one then and keep it. I am really loving this car.

7157

Andree
07-22-2013, 09:51 PM
I am REALLY enjoying my 500e... to the point were my long term goal of getting the gen 3 Tesla might change now. I am leasing but at the end if its held up well, drives well and still in great shape I might just buy a new one then and keep it. I am really loving this car.

7157

Come on in, make yourself at home! Thanks for the pic of your new Grigio eSport. That looks like McKevitt (that's where I went).

Tweak
07-22-2013, 11:10 PM
I am REALLY enjoying my 500e... to the point were my long term goal of getting the gen 3 Tesla might change now. I am leasing but at the end if its held up well, drives well and still in great shape I might just buy a new one then and keep it. I am really loving this car.

7157

Congrats and welcome to the forum! Thanks for sharing the pic, my fav color 500 but then I am a bit biased. :D

tpoltron
07-23-2013, 12:32 AM
I know this is a Fiat forum... but oh my please post pics of the Tesla! lol

Its there in post #8 - though there's something like a pumkin partly blocking the view!

Andree
07-23-2013, 02:52 AM
Its there in post #8 - though there's something like a pumkin partly blocking the view!

I have a question. A long, drawn out, question.

If you both had to choose only ONE of the cars, we know which you would choose, but what about your wife? Would she choose the Tesla or the Fiat?

In some cases where people choose to go to one car, it will be the one that sucks up the most gas. You don't have that problem. LOL! It might be that the larger or smaller car is preferred, because of the number of people that are usually transported or the need for space to transport large items on a regular basic. The Tesla isn't exactly a truck and I wouldn't use it for lumber. Or the newer/older car goes. Both your cars look new and/or are new.

Just wondering if she's been getting a bit of the Fiat fever too, even with the Tesla at her command.

tpoltron
07-23-2013, 12:49 PM
Oh my wife likes the Fiat a lot and is happy to drive it but would keep the Tesla is she had to choose. The is a seriously badass vehicle while being environmentally friendly. If I lived in a dense city like San Francisco I'd keep the Fiat but out in the suburbs I'd go with the Tesla cause you can actually take it on trips via the SuperCharger stations - they are a lot more like filling up with gas than you'd think. We take the Tesla to Lake Tahoe with no problems - far beyond the 500e's range. If Fiat were serious about EVs they would have put on 50KW high voltage Chademo charging ports on like on the Nissan Leaf which would fill a 500e in 30 minutes. Fiat's 12 days of car rental is an innovative way to cover the need for the occasional trip though.

tpoltron
07-23-2013, 06:10 PM
Oh and another +1 for the Fiat, I figured out yesterday that it shows individual tire pressure when you press the end button of the right side steering stalk. The Model S only gives you a warning that one or more tires are out of range.

Andree
07-23-2013, 07:03 PM
Oh my wife likes the Fiat a lot and is happy to drive it but would keep the Tesla is she had to choose. The is a seriously badass vehicle while being environmentally friendly. If I lived in a dense city like San Francisco I'd keep the Fiat but out in the suburbs I'd go with the Tesla cause you can actually take it on trips via the SuperCharger stations - they are a lot more like filling up with gas than you'd think. We take the Tesla to Lake Tahoe with no problems - far beyond the 500e's range. If Fiat were serious about EVs they would have put on 50KW high voltage Chademo charging ports on like on the Nissan Leaf which would fill a 500e in 30 minutes. Fiat's 12 days of car rental is an innovative way to cover the need for the occasional trip though.

Options are good. There really isn't a "one car for all". I felt GUILTY when driving the Honda Fit, because it was TOO LARGE for my needs. And being too large, it also was a problem for parking in tight spots. It wasn't a "city car" at all. It wasn't a good match for my needs.

For the Fiat, they created an electric using the same shell as the rest of the Fiat 500 line. I think they did an excellent job. But they didn't start from the ground up, and they didn't make the customer pay for the cost associated with a brand new model that would be made in limited quantities for one state.

Because I think the manufacturer actually has to SELL the electric or hybrid vehicles to meet the compliance regulations, not just make a $100,000 vehicle and find that no one will buy it. Anyone can make a costly vehicle (or home) and let the consumer pay the cost. It's making the small, efficient vehicles that are actually in the price range of more of the population that is a real challenge. Bonus if they can make it not look like crap.

Fiat already had a great looking, great selling "shell" that was already accepted by over a million people worldwide. Don't mess with success.

However, there will be more electrics coming from Chrysler with the new guy, Duhaime.
http://www.fiat500usaforum.com/showthread.php?10936-Fiat-500e-is-just-the-first-step

And we know that Fiat has big plans, more vehicles coming to the US, plus new models. So, somewhere in there may be electrics for the masses with the fast charge. The 500L could be a good electric, because of the back cargo space. Make the cargo floor even with the bumper, and you have room for some battery stuff, right there under the floor. More battery room in the extended 500L. Just ditch the third row of back seats.

I'd personally love to see one of the small vans they have, made with the fast charge, and be available as a cargo van (for business, commercial, professional) and a passenger van (personal, taxi). A utility vehicle for all. It wouldn't be as fun of course, as the Fiat 500e, but has practical applications.

The scores of vans that are used for the phone company, cable, plumbing, around town delivery, always on the move. Take a lunch break at the fast charger, and both the driver and the car are filled up.


Oh and another +1 for the Fiat, I figured out yesterday that it shows individual tire pressure when you press the end button of the right side steering stalk. The Model S only gives you a warning that one or more tires are out of range.

Yes! I love that feature. If you haven't ordered the print manual, do so. My Fiat Specialist went through the endless array of hidden treasures for the EVIC and the steering stalk. But there is a LOT of stuff hidden and I needed the manual to remember just HOW to do some of the things. I'm guessing you have most/all the goodies too on the 500e.

One of the things I love about the 500 is that they've managed to keep the dash "clean". There aren't dials all over. It looks simple. And can keep the information you most want to view in sight. But a little exploration reveals complexity, and even explanations.

For instance, on the gas model, you can view the average mpg. And miles traveled. It includes the TIME used to travel the distance AND the average speed for the miles traveled. I knew why my initial mpg was fairly low, because I have mostly short trips. But I was able to see more detail with the Fiat, as it showed the average speed as being like 20 mph, and it taking HOURS to cover scant distances. That is super useful to everyone who wonders about their own personal mpg. TIME is an important factor, in that the vehicle is burning gas while idling, and that 5 mph that one does in the parking lot at the grocery store or shopping mall counts against the overall consumption and reduces the overall average speed.

sk8ace
07-23-2013, 10:46 PM
Great read! I love those black/orange wheels. If they made them in 16s/17s I would buy them for my abarth.

Thanks for posting!

djhace
07-24-2013, 02:42 AM
hah. funky cause i don't fancy those wheels. obvious, that can we switched. other wise, both cars. sweet.
a bit too quite for me, to drive. ;-) aaah-bart here.

Zapped
12-10-2013, 10:33 PM
Oh and another +1 for the Fiat, I figured out yesterday that it shows individual tire pressure when you press the end button of the right side steering stalk. The Model S only gives you a warning that one or more tires are out of range.

Sounds like it could get a little competitive. (FIAT vs Model S)
Funny thing is I have a Model S and my wife loves the 500e.

I'm fairly certain we would get the 500e in the next 6 months, but I'm hoping to move that ahead and surprise her for Christmas (although keeping secrets is a challenge )

I saw your earlier post about no adapter for the FIAT. Has that changed or are there any plans to make one ? I already have the NEMA 14-50 plug in the garage but it sounds like I'll need to get the J1772 charger after all.
It kind of limits your charging options in a emergency on the road.

chronoguy
12-11-2013, 12:46 PM
I already have the NEMA 14-50 plug in the garage but it sounds like I'll need to get the J1772 charger after all.
It kind of limits your charging options in a emergency on the road.

The car comes with a J1772 110v Level 1 EVSE. You can buy a Level 2 EVSE that is hardwired and have an electrician make you one with a 240v Nema 60-50 or whatever they end plug they use at RV recreation parks. That is what some people do for other electric cars.

Zapped
10-08-2014, 06:29 PM
The car comes with a J1772 110v Level 1 EVSE. You can buy a Level 2 EVSE that is hardwired and have an electrician make you one with a 240v Nema 60-50 or whatever they end plug they use at RV recreation parks. That is what some people do for other electric cars.

Got a J1772 Schneider unit installed on a 40A circuit.
And the FIAT 500e 2 weeks ago ! Wife loves it.
"Pretended" to beat a Mustang ( up to the speed limit ) at a red light and ended up squealed the tires ! The people in the Mustang probably thought it was them. LOL.

Eletruk
10-08-2014, 10:05 PM
If Fiat were serious about EVs they would have put on 50KW high voltage Chademo charging ports on like on the Nissan Leaf which would fill a 500e in 30 minutes. Fiat's 12 days of car rental is an innovative way to cover the need for the occasional trip though.

Well, we all know Fiat isn't serious about EVs.
Second, the engineers who worked on the electrification of the 500 said that when they were building system, it was tested to work with the SAE CCS fast charge, which has a max of 240KW (vs. the 50KW of CHAdeMO). But due to unavailability of the CCS (both receptacles and chargers) the car was shipped without it. And realistically, all fast chargers only charge to 80% full speed, then they slow down on the last 20%. A Leaf takes 30 minutes to charge 80% and then another half hour to get that last 20%, so a full charge is actually an hour. Even the Tesla super charger only gives you about 70% in 30 minutes (170 of 245 miles).
We can only hope they continue the Fiat 500e when Chrysler starts selling the plug-in hybrid, and they will put in the fast charge in newer models.http://www.autoblog.com/2014/10/06/chrysler-town-and-country-plug-in-hybrid-minivan-coming-in-2015/

msjulie33
10-08-2014, 11:24 PM
.
Second, the engineers who worked on the electrification of the 500 said that when they were building system, it was tested to work with the SAE CCS fast charge, which has a max of 240KW (vs. the 50KW of CHAdeMO). But due to unavailability of the CCS (both receptacles and chargers) the car was shipped without it.

I know next to nothing about e-cars (working on fixing that) - what if any retrofit will be possible with the 500 when tech changes? Even the studio is against selling them (vs lease) because they expect the tech to change a lot in the next couple years... I guess I hope so...