Last Sunday, we moseyed on down to the local Fiat dealer destined to lease an electric 500, better known as the 500e. After much dickering on price, we walked out, they followed and settled on our terms. It was simple. I was spending over $200 a month in gas for my 1989 4Runner, to get groceries and other basic errands. Fiat was advertising a $139 lease. Electricity is substantially less than gas, therefore if we could get a low enough lease payment we would actually be saving money for me to drive a new car, with modern amenities and reliability. Insurance and registration are more expensive, but they offset the annual repair costs of keeping up a car with 210k miles on it. Plus, I really felt like a major repair was about to hit. (Mechanics know these things, we are at one with our cars.) So all said and done, I drive home in a totally fun little city car. I love it!
Fun was not completely unexpected. The test drive proved to be satisfying and the car had quite the pep. 142 ft pounds of torque instantly, which gives the car a Disneyland roller coaster acceleration kind of feel. Turn off the stability control and one (not me of course) could do burn outs all day long, leaving 11's all over town. The hard-ish Firestone Firehawks help with that. Low rolling resistance, not grabby rubber is the course for electric scoots. It handles reasonably well considering the batteries add an extra 600 pounds to the weight of a standard Fiat 500. I opted for the equally fun white leather with bright orange accents. I've had black interiors in Riverside and they just become heat magnets. I chose the light silver paint, but had they had an electric orange one I would have jumped on that. Maybe I'm getting tacky in my old age, but it sure is just as fun to look at as it is to drive.
Inside is all the technology I'm not used to and generally opposed to in cars I own, but I won't own this and am perfectly happy giving it back in three years. Bluetooth, a Tom Tom navigation that is integrated into the dash (removable and portable), heated seats, heated mirrors and a 7" LCD speedometer/computer screen complete with too many menu options. auto dimming rear view mirror, back up sensors, some kind of forward pedestrian sensor, because people like walking in front of rolling cars and if they walk in front of this one it will beep at them. (I'm going to test this option today.) Power windows, mirrors and door locks. and steering wheel mounted phone and radio controls. No adaptive cruise however, which in a car with all this technology should exist. Standard stereo with Alpine speakers, which is a bit on the weak side. I want to hear what the Bose option sounds like. Wrap that all up in a handy dandy phone app that locks the doors, honks the horn and allows me to preconditon the car, if it's plugged in. (preconditioning is the act of heating or cooling the car prior to entry.) exciting when new, but that kind of stuff gets old quick.
No more rid a ding ding ding ding..
Hello Mr. Big Rig.