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Thread: Highway driving and driving in the Winter

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    Highway driving and driving in the Winter

    Hello all, I am very much considering purchasing a used Fiat 500e with around 30,000 miles on it. However I have two main concerns.
    1) How does the range hold up while highway driving? Currently my commute is 60 miles round trip, most of that trip is highway driving. Can the Fiat cruise at 75mph well? Or would this eat away at the battery quickly?
    2) I currently live in Michigan and it gets pretty cold here during the Winter. Does anyone here drive the car in a colder climate? How does the cold impact the range? Does it cut a significant amount out of the battery life?

    Thanks

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    Unfortunately the 500e isn't a good choice for this situation. 75 MPH in virtually any weather will quickly drain the battery. On my longer trips on the highway I've learned to set cruise control to around 60 MPH and remain in the right lane.

    Cold weather impacts range significantly. While the guess-o-meter shows realistic 80 mile range in the summer, it drops to below 60 in the winter. And I'm in the Atlanta area, where it really isn't that cold most of the winter.

    I love my 500e. But it isn't perfect. Realistically an EV should carry close to double the amount of capacity needed on a daily basis to account for exactly the types of issues your raise. For example my commute is 25 miles RT with none of it on the highway. I don't believe the 500e isn't going to cut it in your case.

    Honestly, in this situation my pitch (which I have actually considered), would be for a BMW I3 REx. While the battery size up to 2015 is about the same as the 500e (kWh capacities in the low 20s) , the two additions that make it workable are the CCS DCFC port and the range extending engine that can recharge the battery. With a bit of effort to reconfigure the vehicle to the EU configuration where the REx can be engaged at a 75% battery level, the I3 becomes and excellent combination of a pure EV that has a pair of useful backups when there isn't enough battery capacity, such as driving 60 miles round-trip at 75 MPH on a cold winter day. In terms of cost, the I3 off-lease is running about 50-75% more than a 500e. But I think it may be worth the investment to have an EV most of the time without having to deal with white-knuckle range anxiety on many days of the year with a sub 100 mile range EV that absolutely will not meet your requirements for half the year.

    BTW are there any CCS DCFC stations along your route? If so you can pick up an 80% charge in about 20 minutes. It gives another range extension tool in the box that frankly I wish the 500e would have added.

    ga2500ev
    Last edited by ga2500ev; 08-08-2018 at 08:25 AM.

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    ga2500ev is right. The 500e isn't going to be a good choice for you. At 75mph, you should expect no more than 50mi of range. My wife has a 55mi drive to her office and given southern California traffic, she averages 40mph and gets there with about 25% (20% if the AC was on the whole time). Her return home is usually faster, but she'll come home with 9-29%. The day before Thanksgiving, traffic was so bad that it took her 2.5 hours to 55 miles...but she had 55% of range remaining.

    I would think the Bolt, Tesla, or new Leaf would be better suited for you. If value is a concern of yours, I would probably just get a hybrid and wait a few years for more EVs with greater range to come out. I recently saw a caravan of Jaguar I-Pace cars driving down the 405S in Irvine; I'm eyeing one and will pay attention to the residual value when they are off-lease and hopefully they will be worlds more reliable than their ICE counterparts.

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    I have a 2015 500e with ~30k miles. I haven't noticed any battery degradation based on Southern California driving. (40's in winter and 90's in summer temps). However if you need to do your round trip without charging at work, I don't think the Fiat will work for you. With AC in hot months and heater in cold days the range will drop 10-20%. That's just too much range anxiety. If you can manage to charge at work, then you're fine and the 500e will be a really fun/enjoyable ride. Good luck.

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    ga2500ev described the situation very well. However if you CAN charge at work than 500e is perfect choice.
    I use it in Central Europe where during winter we have between 32 - 0F and heating eats a battery capacity more than cooling in summer. But with preheating „on wire“ before you start it only shortens range by 10-15%, depending on the outside temperature and trip length.
    In any case you will make 60 miles per charge under any conditions in winter, you may need to slow down to 65 mph in worst case scenario..

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    Got mine here in Texas in February. Temp was high 20's/low 30's. Averaged 90 miles a charge, driving at 40/55 city/highway mix, with no heater on.

    It will absolutely make the round trip miles you need, but not at 75 and not with the heater on.
    -Dirty Blond
    (Filthy really)

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    Yeah, I think you could do the trip, but not at 75mph, 65 may be realistic. I drive 75mph, but only have about a 30 mile round trip and on days when the AC never throttles down I can have as little as 60% charge by the time I get home. I have no experience with running a lot of heat. The car does have seat heaters so you can minimize the cabin heat use. Also, if you have a garage where you can safely put the key in the ignition and turn the car on for a bit you can pre-heat the cabin off of the AC power (you'll need level 2 to do this at full power) and at least get the air somewhat warm. Don't count on using the app to turn on the HVAC because you can't buy the app access after the three year freebie expires.

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    Turning ignition key to ON is very good idea because it not only preheats the cabin but also battery!!!
    That saves lots of energy at freezing temperatures.

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