I leave a parking lot in the outskirts of L.A. and lay into the throttle. All 147 pound-feet of torque is delivered in a millisecond to the front wheels as I screech down the road. Yes, I just did an (admittedly short) burnout in an EV. Awesome.
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I’ve been looking for an affordable, entertaining EV for years. And failing. The Nissan Leaf has all the charm of a dishwasher. The Ford Focus Electric is a litany of compromises. The Honda Fit EV – while fun – feels like a plastic penalty box. And it’s best to not even mention the Mitsubishi i or the forthcoming (and poorly named) Smart ForTwo ED.
All of these EVs are an uninspiring mishmash of an existing model with a hastily engineered electric drivetrain stuffed inside. You could say the same about the 500e. But you’re wrong. By slapping an electric motor up front and a battery pack from stem to stern, Fiat has managed to make the 500 better than its gas-powered siblings. And here’s the kicker: After spending a day with one, I can say it’s arguably a better value.
Allow me to explain.
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