I have had my 500e for almost two years now, and I would like to share my experience.
I started the lease on my 500e on December 21, 2012. I have wanted an EV since Tesla introduced the Roadster. When my neighbors showed me their 500e and let me drive it around, I went to Fiat the next day and leased one.
So far the car has been to the dealership 3 times. The first time was because I received a “service electrical system” warning. I took the car in, and they couldn’t figure out why I received the warning because it went away after restarting the car. I decided not to take the car in again if I get the warning and it goes away after restarting.
The second time was for a recall notice involving a faulty part. I was leery about this because my neighbors had their 500e at the dealership for three weeks because of this recall. It turns out, that the technicians didn’t know that the part had to be installed a particular way in order to work. They found out by pulling out the part and reinstalling 180 degrees. It worked. Once they knew that fact (which was not told to them in their training) there were no problems. My car was in and out in a day.
The third time was for a recall in the programming code. I lagged to get this into the dealership until I got the “service electrical system” notice again. Since it would not go away after restarting the car, I took it in. They had it for several hours and took car of the program recall which took care of the warning notice.
I currently have a warning notice to service my tire pressure monitoring system, and will take it in either on Veterans Day or Thanksgiving week. I would rather not take a day off of work for that.
After two years, I have noticed a slight difference in range capacity of the batteries. First of all, as many people know, temperature makes a big difference in range. I live 31 miles from work so I have a 62 mile round trip commute. I live in the Central Valley of California, so temperatures rarely get below freezing in the winter and routinely get above 105 in the summer. The first year of driving showed that when temps are over 70, I usually have about 29-33% charge when I get home from work. But as temperatures drop, I can have as low as 18% when I get home. Some of this is due to the need to use headlights and to turn on and off the defroster, but there is a marked difference even when the windows do not fog. I have found that the heated seats work great for keeping me warm without the effect that running the heater has on range.
The second year gave me a 2-3% reduction in battery charge when getting home. I went from having 29-33% charge when getting in warm months to a 27-30% charge. So far, the cooler weather is resulting in 15%-23% left. I am curious to see what happens over the final year of my lease.
As far as how fit and finish holds up over time, I am pretty satisfied. There is a slight issue with the driver’s side window. If I roll it up all the way, the motor seems to push it too far up and make the door bulge a little, so I am careful to stop the window from rolling up too far. The metallic black paint is still in very good condition, but I do keep it garaged, and my work has solar panels that shade the parking lot.
The interior is still beautiful and everything works great. I would say that my only complaint is that I am a large man, and the arm rest isn’t in the best position for someone of my size. But that is about it.
The biggest take away is the money I have saved with my 500e. I was spending $400 a month in gas to get to work in my Tundra. The lease on my 500e is $223 a month. My electricity costs are minimal because I own a
7kw solar system, so I am ahead $100 a month after deducting insurance for another vehicle. The price of gas has gone down, so I figure I am close to breaking even monthly at this point, but I still have 2 vehicles for the price of one, and the Fiat has heated electric leather seats and satellite radio.
Depending on when Telsa’s model 3 comes out and how it performs, I will probably lease another 500e after this lease is up. It won’t work for some peoples’ situations, but it is perfect for my needs.