Fiat 500e - all electric

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Overview - main page

What these pages are for is to document some of my learning experiences, and also put information that is hard or impossible to find in one place.

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I originally leased a 2014, my lease was up in 2017, and leased another one. There are some differences, mostly improvements. Curiously the CD player is gone, but now instead of the "Blue and Me" MMI (man machine interface), the Uconnect system is there, and works better, more features.

On the 2014 there was an audio input jack in the glove box, now the audio jack and an "audio smart" USB are down on the console with little hatches. My 2017 now has a low profile USB with 20 gigs of mp3's (about 3,500 songs).

The stupid pedestal mount on the top of the dash with the funky holder for the TomTom navi unit is gone and everything integrated into the touchscreen that handles the radio, phone, etc.

The one big and 2 small cup holder "wells" in the center console are replaced with 2 large ones.

I also bought one without the sunroof. The sunroof, even though heavily tinted still let too much light and heat in even with the perforated "roller shade" pulled out to cover it inside.

There's other little stuff missing on the 2017, like the super cool aluinum valve caps.

 

Some reviews: http://www.greenerideal.com/vehicles/0521-is-the-all-electric-fiat-500e-really-a-road-worthy-car/

Buying or leasing one, costs, rebates

I leased mine, basically because I'm still not comfortable with the prices of replacement batteries and I feel that electric cars are still very new to manufacturers.

I also leased mine because there was an incredible deal, besides the government rebate of $7,500 (which the dealer gives to you in reducing the vehicle cost), but there was also an $8,500 rebate incentive on the lease.

So, with a small down payment of $5,700, my $34,000 car is costing me $134 a month. These number were for the 2014, 3 years later it cost me $113 a month (both numbers with tax) for the same car without the sunroof. Also I used a $5,500 trade in the first time, and in 2017 I used a $4,500 cash down.

In addition, there is a California state rebate: http://energycenter.org/clean-vehicle-rebate-project of $2,500 you get yourself, all done online. It took 3-1/2 months to receive the check.

In addition, you get the white HOV lane stickers for $8, so you can drive solo in the HOV lanes.

Apparently in 2014 you can also get free FastPAss access on the toll roads, i.e. your car "qualifies" as 3 or more carpoolers. It appears that you need a "switchable" transponder, that indicates 3 or more people in the car. I have applied for this transponder, and am still investigating.

Also, another big savings is coming from SDG&E, where instead of the 4 tier system based on total monthly usage, you can switch to a program where you pay more or less depending on the time of day. If you have high energy usage already (I'm WAY into tier 4), then this can lower your costs apparently. I have applied for the change, will see what happens. Tier 1&2 are 1/5 of my energy costs, 16 and 18 cents... Tiers 3 & 4 are 80% of my energy use and are 36 and 38 cents in the summer. The SDGE TOU plan is 49 cents peak (noon to 6pm), off peak of 22 cents, and midnight to 5 am is super off peak of 16 cents. Should be pretty clear that if 80 percent of my usage is 38 cents, then managing the TOU wll should keep me in the 22 cent range.

In the Winter, the TOU plan is even better, 20 cents off peak, 21 cents on peak, and super off peak goes to 18 cents. I should save a bundle, although I need to put in the winter rates for not TOU.

Another perk is a discounted car rental program, I think through Enterprise, http://www.fiatusa.com/assets/pdf/FIAT-500e-Pass-Program-Official-Rules.pdf

A funny aside, Fiat and Chrysler Group boss Sergio Marchionne has made several public statements saying they lose 10-14k every time a 500e is sold and he wants to sell the bare minimum of them to meet the requirments. This is Chrysler Group's first all electric vehicle for public sale.

Other facts, the extra weight of the battery makes the ride less harsh than the gas versions, betters the front-rear weight distribution, and makes the car 10% more rigid (the battery frame).

Where to find help

I read the "manual" that is on a DVD, and actually copied it to a directory on my computer. There is also an app for smart phones that has some information.

The next place was to search for forums. I'm still evaluating them, but I have found 3, 2 smaller ones with not much activity, and a larger one, but seems to be a bit of politics on it, people upset because it's unfair to give rebates and subsidies on electric cars, weird... the jury is still out on this one, so no names for now.

New owner tips

It seems that if you are in the "menu" system that is accessed by the push button at the end of the right stalk, then the "other" menu system accessed by the dashboard menu button cannot be accessed. For example, the "stalk" menus allow you to see the motor power, trip "A" info, trip "B" info, and tire pressures... while viewing these screens, the other "menus" cannot be accessed, you need to return to the "stalk menu home" with the cute picture of the 500e first, and then the "dashboard menu system" will operate. Pretty dumb, but that is how it works.

link for checking if there are radio updates: https://rsur.extra.chrysler.com/rsur/Uconnect.do  (does not work with FireFox, works with IE)

 

Information you need to record and keep

VIn (doh)
MDH (month day and hour manufactured) - on label on drivers door
connectivity ID - used for the app, get it from the menu on the main display
radio serial number and 4 digit theft code
key code/pin?
what is the electronic and mechanical code? on a blue plastic "credit card"
 

Remote control / "the app"

Initially the MyFiat app was a pain, but after a number of months it got reliable. Also there is the Uconnect app, while newer and cooler looking, does not do as much. The Fiat app lets you have very fine control of exactly what notifications are sent to you, either or both your email or text to your phone.

If you have issues, they tell you to reset your phone, etc. If you can log into the app, then you have no communications issues yourself and your phone is fine. The critical communications is between their server and the car. Many times since the car is on 3G, you don't get good reception next to a building.

In both apps, you can set your charging schedule, honk the horn, lock or unlock the car, and do a "precondition" which turns the A/C on (as long as it was set to auto and the right temp already), but note only the fiat app can force a charge to start.

When the apps do not work, it could be that the cell phone system (telematics) are not on. The cars are shipped with the telematics in "transport mode" which disables the cellular phone in the car, that might not have been turned off, so no communication.

Instructions for Service Tech:

  • Use the Witec service tool to write the TCU (VTM) transport mode to “Not Active”.
  • Can be found under: Main screen > VTM > Miscellaneous
  • Turn the key off/on and wait 2-5 minutes.

Chargers

I researched level 2 chargers, level 1 units take forever.

Looked for something way cheaper than $1,000 plus $1,000 installation. Heck, the Fiat Level 2 charger is $2,500... ridiculous

Bosch- generally good ratings

EL-51245 Power Max 16 Amp (level 1), 12' Cord, (!!) - don't bother ~$560
EL-51253 Power Max 30 Amp (level 2) 18' Cord ~$750

Clipper creek lcs25P – 20 amp – mobile – need 30 amp rated

Siemens – 30 amp, big  weatherproof, has timer

Ev west

Electric Motor Werks - they have kits. http://www.emotorwerks.com/

I built the JuiceBox, 30 amps, in a kit, you can ge 25' cable ~$350

The Clipper Creek line of home chargers, starting at about $600 and heading up. http://www.clippercreek.com/products.html

EVSEupgrade.com modifies Level 1 Chargers to become 2's... but they don't list our Fiat. http://evseupgrade.com/?main_page=products_all

http://www.myelectriccarforums.com/electric-vehicle-charger/

check for recalls:

https://www.moparownerconnect.com/oc/us/en-us/sub/Pages/RecallsQuery.aspx

 

silent locking

That damn beep! Some people report success with the following method. Note: the following did not work on my 2014, but apparently works for some, seems to be related to aftermarket alarms

you can lock the doors and set the alarm with silent.
while driver side door open, press lock button twice (you will see the car blinks four times) and shut the door.
you will get final and last blink on the car.

If you press the lock button too fast, car will honk so try multiple times if you get the honk.

I blelive after more research, this does not work with the stock alarm/system.

"Hidey Holes" under the rear floor

In the floor behind both front seats, where the rear passenger's feet would be are small hatches and under them (just pop them off) are small holee that would hold maybe 2 burritos each. Apparently locations for a no longer offered subwoofer system. Never offered on the 500e.

Pedestrian warning noise

Believe it or not there is a speaker in the engine compartment to make noise up to 22 mph to warn pedestrians. I need to listen to the car, I have not noticed it from inside, but it apparently drives some people crazy, and some people have removed it. You could just unplug it, cover up the connectors. Front passenger side wheel whell, ahead of the windshield washer tank.

http://www.myfiat500e.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=27

More stuff to add

You might want to find a cool little GDO (garage door opener0 so you don't have to clip on the visor. Also better anti-theft if you park your car outside.

Need to find tow hooks or places to tow before you try it. Apparently there are tow hooks available.

Jack pads - DO NOT JACK THIS CAR UP WITHOUT NOTCHED JACK PADS. You will be pressing on a seam not the body. Get them on amazon. Get ones with a wide slot and about 3 inches in diameter. Larger diameter won't work. Look up there where the jacking arrows are, you will see what I mean.

Tire pressure system TPMS

Most people report it is not accurate. I inflate the tires to the recommended 35 psi, and the system usually reports 33 psi. So mine reads low by 2 psi. My 2017 is likewise a couple of pounds off.

You should "calibrate" yours with an accurate gauge. It takes a bit of running to have the reading update. The reading also seems to not update fast if you add pressure, but updates fast if you lose pressure, so you might deflate them down a bit first and then reinflate if you have trouble with updates. Over inflating will reset it quick, and then bleed down to the proper pressure.

All of the 500e's I've had my hands on came with 40 or 41 psi from the dealer. Correct pressure is 35

Auto park feature

Might be able to disable by disconnecting driver seat switch (but what about the seat belt?) This "feature" trys to figure out if you get out of the car and don't put it in park, and if if thinks you are going to do this, it puts the car in park... can be irritating if you are in a hurry and just pop out for the mailbox.

TomTom navigation system

The 2014 came with a TomTom "Blue & Me 2" navigation system. It is very integrated with the car, you can also dial the phone with it, it shows energy consumption on the car, etc.

You get a login to "MyDrive" to do updates. Recently it started bugging me that my map was old, and I went on the "MyDrive" site to see about updating it. Well, it offered a new map, but no real information except a date. Looking deeper, it showed a map version of 9.35 ... I went to my unit and got the info screen and it says: Map v935.5757 .... well that did not instill confidence.

I found the TomTom official forum: https://en.discussions.tomtom.com which appears to be in the UK... asked about how to know the version of the map, and I was told the latest version is 9.40. After some more pressing questions, since they never used the "MyDrive", I got a link to buy the map v9.40 but in pounds, and then finally I got the US link: https://www.tomtom.com/en_us/shop/maps/#deviceSelected=Blue&Me%20TomTom%202 I was never able to update the Blue & Me system to the level the European cars could.

 

 

Sub-Pages

Click the links below to go "deeper" into details on indivudual rolling stock by manufacturer

  Building a 240v Charger    Fiat 500e Mods    TomTom Navigation System (2014)     Phone, Sound & Electronics  
  Charging Stations / Membership costs     Carpool Lanes, discounts, other perks     Fiat Access App   Blue & Me firmware updating (2014)  
Uconnect (2017) tips phone, media, etc.      

 

 

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