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Buying a Used 500e Sight Unseen!
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  1. #1
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    Buying a Used 500e Sight Unseen!

    So here I am, extremely interested in a used 500e as a way to dip my toes into fully electric motoring. They seem like a fun toy to play with, and for less than $9k, there are lots to choose from. However, I have never driven one, nor even seen one in person. I would also be purchasing this used car sight unseen, and having it shipped from 1700 miles away! There is just so much wrong with this plan, that I am somewhat embarrassed to discuss it!

    That said, has anyone else done something similar to get into a 500e? I have watched just about all of the videos on Youtube, and I am fully aware of what I am getting into. I understand the range limitations, especially related to cold weather, and I have driven a gas 500 about a year ago.

    Let me know your experiences with purchasing these cars remotely, and if there is anything unusual I should be aware of.

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    Are you buying from an individual or dealer? You need to make sure you have the charger with the car. They might conveniently forget to put it in the car. Also, what are your electricity bills like? Ours are super high here and that actually discouraged me from buying one. Although I would like to have one just to say I have one. I hear they are super reliable. Not sure what kind of range you will get the older the car gets. Also, there should be some new battery tech out there that should be able to fix the range issue...Not sure what it would cost to double the range...Some battery company should have a solution. Be nice if we could go to battery plus and just upgrade the batteries...Good luck on your purchase...Make sure your dealer can work on it too...
    Im not a Mopar guy...Im a FCA guy...Im so happy Fiat took Chrysler under its wing! With that said I have a good collection of FCA cars.

    2013 500 Abarth
    2013 Viper GTS
    2016 Challenger 392 Scat Pack
    2005 Willys Edition Jeep TJ
    2005 Chrysler 300 SRT w/426 Hemi
    2012 Chrysler 300 SRT 6.4L
    2019 Ram Rebel
    2019 Jeep Cherokee Summit

    ****Looking to add another Abarth...Need a track day car I can strip down and go to VIR regularly****

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    Senior Member PLP's Avatar
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    What is your location?
    1700 miles sounds like shipping from CA to WI...

    Anyway, that's almost what happened to me. I was ready to get one from CA shipped to MI. Luckily enough I found one in MI. Tad over 60 miles from home...

    How would I approach it?
    Sure, you can get Carfax... but that tells you only a bit, and only if that was reported. I got mine with clean carfax, but I can see the front was done. Driver side, front fender - was replaced. Bumper repainted, hood clear coated, and blended on the door.
    Does not seem to take damage into the mechanical parts, but body was touched. It could have been just getting a whole from someone backing up into the fender and stone chips on the bumper... but again - carfax clean.

    So have some good eyes check it. Test drive it. Verify charging works - both the Level 1 cord with the car and Level 2.
    Ensure the EVSE is in the trunk. Also, not a big deal, but you might want to have the GPS in there, too.
    Use FCA/Mopar website to check for any recalls/TSBs, and to verify warranty status.
    Finally, check if your local dealer CAN service 500e. Not all of them can. I think the rule of thumb is that if they have the EVSE on the wall, they can service EVs.

    The main battery is covered, so in the case it failed - you are OK.

    If you still have the factory warranty - then less things to worry about.

    But yeah... there are many things you will learn in cold weather and EV.
    This car hates below freezing days, BUT will always get hot inside in the matter of seconds. No need to wait for the engine to warm up!

    If you have access to Level 2 charger (home or work) or if you hack the OEM charger to go off 240 V - you will be fine.



    EDIT.
    Just FYI.
    For my driving in Lansing area...
    Between 02-APR-2019 and 30-APR-2019 I put 704 miles (current ODO is 39'837).
    To charge the car I used about 228 kWh.
    Taking into account my standard electricity rate, that is 15 c/kWh, it comes out as it costs me 4.86 cent per mile.
    In other words, one gallon of 87 today is about $3. I burnt 11.4 gallons of 87 petrol to drive 704 miles. (67 mpg US).

    If I switched to the lower rate, I'd pay $25.08, that is 84 mpg US.

    I bet I can manage better in summer. Current average is 320 Wh/mile, or 3.08 m/kWh.
    On warm days I managed way above 4 m/kWh...
    Last edited by PLP; 05-02-2019 at 09:18 PM.
    2016 KIA Forte5 SX 1.6 T-GDI, A/T
    2014 FIAT 500e
    2016 FIAT 500X Trekking Plus AWD with Roof and Beats

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    Thanks for the responses! Yes, I would be shipping from California to Wisconsin, and I would be interested only in a 2016+ in order to have <some> B2B warranty left. I am honestly considering one of these, as there several to choose from, the prices seem reasonable, and dealership is higher volume, and seems to have a decent rating on google (whatever that is really worth).

    https://www.ocauto.com/used-vehicles...5D=500e&page=1

    PLP - Thanks for the 'local' data, as this is helpful. My local rates are currently $0.13/kw, but if I switched to a TOU plan, I would charge at $0.09/kw. That said, I have done some rough math, even factoring in reduced efficiency in cold weather. and I still estimate $900-$1000 savings annually. Also, I currently have a garage with a 30A 230V outlet, so I would take advantage of this for charging.

    Maybe one other question I have for cold weather folks is how effective is charging and heating right before leaving for work? I would think this would be the greatest benefit, but I really don't understand by how much. Also, since my round trip commute is only 28 miles, I don't have any range anxiety even when using the heating system, however, how effective is the heat and defrost when I come out after work? Is it comparable to a gas engine (once warmed)?

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    I live in central Minnesota. I decided to get a 500e after test driving one at a EV specialty dealership in the Twin Cities. I wanted a 500e that was a certain color, package, year, and below a certain mileage. The owner of the EV dealership was willing to find me exactly what I wanted, and said that after the car arrived from California, that if I was not happy with it, that I would not have to accept it as he would simply sell it to someone else. That was a month ago. So far the car has been great. Everyone in the family wants to drive it, and we've put 800 miles on it already. There are two Fiat dealerships within driving distance that will service it. Actually the EV dealership had it serviced immediately as soon as it arrived as it had an outstanding recent recall. The vehicle was put into service May 2016, so I have one more year of bumper to bumper warranty left. That put me at ease as I figured I have a full year to decide to keep the vehicle for a few years or resell within the year. I plug the OEM Fiat portable EVSE that came with the car into a 240V outlet and it can charge the car from 0-100% in 9 1/2 hours, which is fine with me. You mentioned you drove a gas 500 a year ago, so you are aware of its size and handling. The electric version has more zip that the gas version. It is a blast to drive.

    As for cost to propel the car:
    My electricity costs are 9 cents per kWh. It is a 24 kWh battery pack. $2.16 to charge from 0-100% with a range of 85 miles.
    Gas 500e gets 35mpg. Gas is $2.70/gallon. 85 miles / 35 mpg = 2.4 gallons of gas to propel 85 miles = $6.48.
    So running on electricity is about 3 times cheaper than gas.

    I would be curious to see a statistical breakdown of actual maintenance costs of an electric 500e vs a gas 500. I would tend to believe that the electric version is considerably cheaper to maintain in the long run, but I don't have hard data to prove that.
    Last edited by alben; 05-05-2019 at 01:28 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member PLP's Avatar
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    On the other day, when I was test driving it, it was about -5 C outside. Heater worked just fine. I mean, like on my KIA when engine is hot.
    When I picked the car up, outside below -10 C, heater and defroster no problems.

    The only complain I'd have is kind of around +7 C day with rain. It is humid, not cold enough to run heat a lot, but AC does not kick in to dry the windshield.
    What I discovered was that while in other cars any partial windshield air flow will activate AC, in 500e is not the case. You must select the defroster only to get AC coming on and drying the glass out.
    Problem? Not really...

    I wish it had a heat pump, though. On days like around 0 C, or even -10 C, heat pump would work much better. At least it would not use this much of the battery. Hence, the AC is much more efficient it terms of using energy from the battery.



    One question for you, guys.
    When you say your energy tariff is 9 cents per kWh, does it include all payments and charges?
    Mine is 9.5585 per kWh, but also on the top of that I have 4.7054 of Distribution. That makes it 14.2639. If you were to consider the system access flat fee of 7.50 USD, then on the average the rate is at least 15 c/kWh.


    Another thing, when comparing costs of maintenance and use.
    In Michigan, registrations is calculated based off the MSRP. Do not ask me what I think of it.
    2014 500 Pop - MSRP 17k, registration fees: 81 USD
    2014 500e - MSRP 31.8k, registration fees: 282 USD (that is the base fee of 147, plus 135 for EV fee - the reason of not paying tax in petrol for the roads).
    So, EV in the very first day costs me 200 USD more than the gas version.


    Hence, assuming 8'000 miles a year, 15c/kWh, average of 3 miles per kWh, and 30 MPG for petrol with 3 USD/gallon (EPA says 31/40 mpg), I get: $400 for EV and $800 for gas. Minus extra 200 for registration, I came down to 200 dollars of a difference.
    'This it not to include the difference in purchase cost. That is assuming new cars. It would take me 35 years to pay off the difference of 7'300 between them (that is after the 7'500 IRS). Maybe 25 years if I take into account no oil changes or brakes...

    If I put solar panels and manage to pay them off, then EV makes much more sense...
    Or if the battery was much larger and I could drive on longer trips, hence putting more miles on the car increasing the gap between them.


    I got 500e for fun only.
    Just to see if I could fit in the market of EV. I like it a lot. Yet, it is not so much cheaper than regular car. I feel much better driving it, but not really saving a lot.
    It is the future, but it is not as cheap as some claim.

    Sure, if I was in warm country and did not need the heater... I could get maybe 5 miles per kWh, but also the Pop would get 35 MPG...
    2016 KIA Forte5 SX 1.6 T-GDI, A/T
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  7. #7
    Enthusiastically Slow Lifetime Member Ando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daschtick View Post
    Yes, I would be shipping from California to Wisconsin.
    Quote Originally Posted by alben View Post
    I live in central Minnesota. I decided to get a 500e after test driving one at a EV specialty dealership in the Twin Cities.
    I assume this is GS Motors in Hopkins? My wife and I test drove an i3 and 500e from GS. The owner is very friendly, knowledgeable, and easy to work with. Depending on what part of WI daschtick is from you could justify a trip out to test drive a 500 or work with him over the phone to figure out a deal similar to what alben arranged. Might kill a weekend, but less risky than shipping one from CA and hating it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PLP View Post
    When you say your energy tariff is 9 cents per kWh, does it include all payments and charges?
    Mine is 9.5585 per kWh, but also on the top of that I have 4.7054 of Distribution. That makes it 14.2639. If you were to consider the system access flat fee of 7.50 USD, then on the average the rate is at least 15 c/kWh.
    The 9 cents per kWh that I quoted includes the tax per kWh. It does not include any access or meter charges. I am paying a set charge for access and the meter for my residence that I would be paying anyway, so I did not include those charges.

    Quote Originally Posted by PLP View Post
    Another thing, when comparing costs of maintenance and use.
    In Michigan, registrations is calculated based off the MSRP. Do not ask me what I think of it.
    2014 500 Pop - MSRP 17k, registration fees: 81 USD
    2014 500e - MSRP 31.8k, registration fees: 282 USD (that is the base fee of 147, plus 135 for EV fee - the reason of not paying tax in petrol for the roads).
    So, EV in the very first day costs me 200 USD more than the gas version.
    Here in MN, we pay a flat 6% of the sale price of the vehicle as sales tax. For private transactions, if a sale price seems "unusually low" without explanation, the DMV will double check against a used car book value.

    We pay $75 yearly EV licensing fee (as an alternative to tax per gallon of gas) on top of the licensing cost which is based on the current book value of the car.

  9. #9
    Enthusiastically Slow Lifetime Member Ando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alben View Post
    For private transactions, if a sale price seems "unusually low" without explanation, the DMV will double check against a used car book value.
    I buy a lot of my vehicles from distant cousins and rich uncles. The DMV never asks for a "good" explanation of a low reported sale price. XD

  10. #10
    Senior Member PLP's Avatar
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    I mean registration fee, not sales tax, which is a separate charge. The tax is only one time, at the time of purchase.
    Yes, they have their own tables, but I never was questioned on the value of the car I bought.

    I was talking about registration fee that you must pay each year you own the car. And that is a flat fee in some states, or a fee that depends on the current value of the car (I find this one the most fair), or like in Michigan, based on MSRP regardless what is the current market value.

    While talking about electricity.
    The access charge may differ depending on the amount of energy you will use.
    For instance, up to 1000 kW/month I pay $7.50. If I needed more, I would pay more. And it is possible to happen if both cars were EV. We would easily hit over 1200 kWh a month.
    In regards the charge per kWh.
    There is a flat fee of 9.56 c/kWh, but they also charge distribution, that is charged per kWh as well. I am not sure how it changes between TOU tariff or the flat one.
    One thing is for sure - with or without the access charge included in the final kWh cost calculation - I pay 14-15 cents per kWh.
    2016 KIA Forte5 SX 1.6 T-GDI, A/T
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