View Full Version : Fiat 500E Not Safe to Drive?

03-02-2015, 03:12 PM
I went in to have my recalled part replaced in the San Francisco Studio. They've now had my 2014 500E for a week. They called me a few days ago and asked if I had ever been in an accident - I have not. They said there was a plastic tab missing that was supposed to hold the power cord in place and since it wasn't there the cord was exposed which could result in a loss of power, crash or an ELECTRIC SHOCK THROUGH THE WHOLE CAR!! They said they thought the way someone could have removed it is if they went inside the car like a body shop mechanic would which has never been done. They said the fiat engineers weren't sure what to do and that I couldn't have my car back because it was unsafe to drive. The studio rep said the ENTIRE BATTERY may have to be replaced! Really? Because a plastic tab is missing? I'm assuming that would take months and I miss my car so I called the FIAT customer service line. After being placed on hold for 20 minutes the representative said she had no information on what the repair would be or how long it would take or what the problem was or, more importantly, how it happened and how it might be prevented in the future. She also said I am forbidden from talking directly to the engineering department. It all sounds so hinky that I'm starting to think the plastic tab was missing from the get go or that it breaks so easily that it could happen to anyone. The car is so simple I can't believe there is a design flaw just connecting the battery to the motor. Do I even want this car back??

03-02-2015, 07:48 PM
So now the dealership is claiming there is an "electrical draw" which means some of the electricity isn't getting to the motor. They have no way of determining where the draw is so they have to "gut the interior" and check all the electrical connections. I asked if the case was that they saw the missing tab and then tested the electrical connections and he said "yes" but I don't see how a missing tab relates to a faulty connection further down. He keeps talking about faulty, possibly frayed, wiring relating to the missing tab and now "possible electrocution". Is my car a lemon deathtrap? He said he'll give me all the photos and correspondence when they are finished but not now "because they might find something else". This is all so bizarre. Whatever happens I will no longer have warm fuzzy feelings about this car. What they are telling me is that they most likely neglected to include the tab during the build so I've been driving around a car that could have killed me. How many other cars are driving around in this state? The guy is acting like his done me this huge favor by saving me from the car he sold me. Does anyone else think these cars aren't safe to drive?

03-02-2015, 10:25 PM
dude this sucks! sorry to hear about this buddy! do you have a rental you can drive while this is in the shop? maybe once its "fixed", you can trade it in for something better and more reliable.

03-03-2015, 01:23 AM
I now firmly believe the tab was never there. Basically what they are saying is that I was driving a deadly car due to negligent manufacturing and the only reason it's being discovered is that I had to go in for the recall way before any required maintenance. I've only had it for 11 months and to hear that I might have been electrocuted makes me so upset. I really don't want the car back. I feel really ripped off. I know that the dealerships don't like the 500e but since I'm not allowed to talk to the engineering dept. at fiat I can only take the dealer's word that I took my life into my own hands by driving a brand new fiat. They have made me terrified to drive it. They must know that I would think about it every time I drive, wondering when the next plastic part will give way and I'll be killed by a jolt of electricity. I don't trust that it will be fixed properly. The California Lemon law allows for two attempted repairs of dangerous conditions so I guess I will have to endure one more before I can get a refund. Something tells me that this cannot be fixed. The lemon law also says you can't lose use of the car for more than 30 days during the first 18 months so maybe the time will just run out. A week ago I loved my car. This has been a rude awakening. I didn't even know electrocution was a danger of driving an EV.

03-03-2015, 10:58 AM
Dude, it seems the dealership is doing due diligence in finding and correcting your problem. What more do you expect? If you feel the car is unsafe, wait for the repairs to be done and trade it in on something else. You state "Something tells me that this cannot be fixed." ....stop listening to "something" and wait for the repairs before passing judgement. And in case you weren't aware, gasoline fires are a danger of driving internal combustion cars.

Abarth Daddy
03-03-2015, 12:38 PM
Where's Fiat Cares?

03-03-2015, 01:00 PM
Where's Fiat Cares?

Not a Dude.

Aware that combustion engines can catch fire but doubt very much that if the fires could be caused by a broken or missing plastic tab that you'd be very happy about it.

What I'm being told is that if I hadn't come in for the recall the car would have been life threatening. Does that upset me? Uh. . . yeah!

03-03-2015, 01:29 PM
Where's Fiat Cares?

This discussion is already being handled on the Fiat500Owners forum: http://www.fiat500owners.com/forum/66-fiat-500e/87889-fiat-500e-unsafe-drive.html#post853801

03-03-2015, 03:42 PM
It would be cool to find out here for the members on this forum, too. gr_grin

03-03-2015, 04:52 PM
U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 152,300 automobile fires per year in 2006-2010. These fires caused an average of 209 civilian deaths, 764 civilian injuries, and $536 million in direct property damage.

Facts and Figures

•Automobile fires were involved in 10% of reported U.S. fires, 6% of U.S. fire deaths.

•On average, 17 automobile fires were reported per hour. These fires killed an average of four people every week.

•Mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in roughly two-thirds of the automobile fires.

•Collisions and overturns were factors in only 4% of highway vehicle fires, but these incidents accounted for three of every five (60%) automobile fire deaths.

•Only 2% of automobile fires began in fuel tanks or fuel lines, but these incidents caused 15% of the automobile fire deaths

I could find absolutely zero cases of passenger car electrocution as a result of onboard battery or electrical system malfunction, although many people crash into power poles and get fried by live wires dropping on their car.

03-04-2015, 12:13 AM
I received an email this morning from fiat responding to my various posts across the internet and they said they would investigate. I had posted to the fiat500e group on google plus and an electrical engineer who worked on the electrical system for Bosch told me everything the dealership told me was bs. He said they were intentionally lying to me and offered to call fiat himself. There is no tab as they described and if a cable was damaged the power module would just shut down. I sent his post to the fiat investigator and within a half hour they responded saying that the cable had been damaged when the recalled power inverter was being replaced. I guess they didn't want to admit their mistake but they were really mean about it scaring me like that. I'm including the link to the google conversation because the engineer is a great resource for electrical questions. The dealership is ordering replacement cables and things and I should be back on the road worry free soon. Thanks all.


03-04-2015, 02:14 AM
I frequent the google+ forum also, and indeed Jim H. is very knowledgeable about the 500e, as he helped develop it when he worked for Bosch. It is clear from his comments that he firmly believes that the car poses absolutely no electrocution risks to owners. The problem is that certain PEOPLE at your dealership were either idiots or ill-informed when they told you multiple untruths about the car. Whether they were clueless or flat out lying, the fault lies with them, not the car. The CEO Marchionne's statements to the press were directed at the California government policy that mandates that the top 6 volume auto manufacturers/sellers in the state MUST build and sell a certain percentage of zero emission cars (or purchase BEV credits from companies such as Tesla) in order to be able to operate in California. Those cars are called "compliance cars" and many manufacturers would rather not have to build them as they tend to be unprofitable. But keep in mind that there were other technologies that were greatly resisted by auto manufacturers in the past, such as seat belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes, crash resistant bumpers, door intrusion barriers, non-saddle mount gas tanks, emission control systems, etc. etc. Were it not for many of these technologies being required by law, most would have been delayed or never implemented. I for one am glad that they are now standard on vehicles and cars are much safer and environmentally friendly as a result. Sometimes progress requires dragging people kicking and screaming to a better place.

Greg Elmassian
03-06-2015, 04:14 PM
I'm reading this thread and shaking my head.

Get the name of the idiot who told you that you could be electrocuted. Send that to the CEO of Fiat and describe what he told you. Copy links to these posts, and also the names of people involved.

I'll guarantee you that the idiot that scared you about electrocution will be picking up trash in city parks in no time.

Any short in the high voltage part of the battery takes the "shortest electrical path" (why it is called a short)... if the battery was on the ceiling of the car and the motor on the floor and all the battery went through your body to the motor, then there could be danger.

You have to be "interposed" between the source and the current flow, like being between the terminals of the battery.

Pretty much impossible given where the battery is and the cables.

Very sorry that you were frightened by a bunch of dimwits.


03-07-2015, 11:56 AM
Thanks Greg. I think they were panicked because they caused the damage to the cables when they put in the recalled part. They tried to make me feel grateful that they "found" the damaged cord and saved me from such a dangerous situation. They laid it on very thick. Have to wonder if they would have tried the same on a man. I don't know if the guy who told me all that stuff knew the real situation or if it's what the tech was telling him. It was a huge mistake. They have to truck a whole new battery out from the east coast so I'll be without the car for at least 23 days. They are paying for a rental. When I asked why they don't just give me another car they offered an extended max care warranty as a goodwill gesture. I remember when they tried to sell that to me at signing I thought it mainly benefitted combustion engine owners who need oil changes and spark plugs, etc. and of course you have to trust they know how to do repairs which is a stretch at this point. There was someone on another forum who also had damaged cables after the recall service although with him they just replaced the cables and not the whole battery pack. It's worrying to think that as our cars age and need more service there will be so little skilled techs available. My guess is they don't want to spend the money to properly train people to fix unprofitable cars. I will try the Berkeley shop next time.

07-28-2015, 10:49 AM
May I ask which shop has been fixing your 500e?

07-29-2015, 12:20 AM
San Francisco which is now closed. Car has been great since they replaced the battery pack.

07-29-2015, 10:54 AM
Thanks for the info!