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Discussion Starter #1
Fiat 500e electric car body, chassis, and suspension
The resulting 2013 Fiat 500e, launched in late 2012, has a re-engineered suspension to provide “highly engaging dynamics” (good cornering) despite the heavier weight and altered weight distribution in an electric car. The Fiat 500e has increased spring rates, unique front-strut and rear-shock tuning, and bigger wheels: 15 x 5.5 inches in front, and 15 x 6.5 in the rear, for stability at high speeds.

The 2013 Fiat 500e has a 16.3:1 steering-gear ratio for responsiveness, with a unique electronic power steering calibration, and built in compensation for temporary road crown and crosswind situations where there is a constant push of the car to one side or another.

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So the quoted part of this linked article answered a lot of my questions about why it does what do and how I might tweak that. Definitely curious if anyone has alignment specs to share and a little explanation of how they settled on that.

I haven't seen much on the handling on the e Correct me if I'm wrong and there are write ups or long discussion threads. It seems like with the weight set up in the car the way it is it could do a whole lot better if set up right.

Also seems I'm still looking for differing spring rates and confirming shocks are same across models do you have a part comparison FAQ for e vs. gas 500 chassis/suspension/brakes parts etc.?
 

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That quote contradicts my theory of springs/shocks/struts matching the gas Pop. It's possible that since all parts will fit both models, they list them all for both models. Still strange that both models list the same parts as "standard", AND well-respected KYB lists the same rear shocks for both models.

It sure feels very under-damped on the back, as if they increased the spring rate but not the shocks. The front isn't as bad, but front weight is so similar to gas that using the same parts should be fine.

I believe someone on this forum quoted from a list of E parts that match gas models, so maybe they can chime in for the suspension.

The E already does a whole lot better than the gas, with respect to cornering neutrality & body roll, due to the weight setup. Neutrality is helped by swapping the front & rear wheels (slightly less understeer).
 

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1) I'm really fussy about handling I feel a sway bar is lazy and uncertain solution. A traction subtraction device. Do you know the actual suspension travel? I feel like this machine has no travel up or down.

2) Nobody's tried Bilsteins on a 500e?

3) the weight is more in the rear right? ... that makes it more neutral handling right? ... closer to a 50/50 weight distribution right? So it will understeer light and then get close to neutral and not want to oversteer. but rear sway bar 'fixes' that. I'd love to see what that's like. I do like that. I feel tire pressure and alignment can do a lot of that work.
1) I glanced under the back & see what appears to be well over an inch of travel, as shown in the pic below. Someone could measure & report back.

I'd never thought of a sway bar as subtracting traction, but that's technically correct. For cornering you COULD subtract less front traction with a weaker front bar, or weaken the stock one with softer bushings &/or springed end links, however that will of course increase body roll.

With more front weight than rear (see #3 below), I don't see how to get neutral cornering without what you'd call "traction subtraction" at the rear, such as your suggestions of tire pressure & alignment, or mine of narrower rims (like swapping the OEM's front-to back) or after-market sway bar, which was available last I checked (fits ALL 500s, I believe).

2) We could ask this group if anyone has Bilsteins.

3) Yes to all. Curb weight F/R (Lbs): Abarth Cabrio 1739/944 (65%/35%), 500e 1689/1263 (57%/43%)

Click to enlarge:
500e Rear Susp Travel.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah it feels over-sprung and the dampers don't match. Still not sure about what actually makes it ride higher but the rear it seems like the shock bottoms out before the spring even really moves very much.

I'm guessing you could unhook the front sway to get more front bite but its so light up front when I lose the front end its cause its light not because I've gotten too much weight up front and plowing. The weight distribution is totally unique to any FWD car I've ever had or set up.

I would have thought someone would proudly floss and strut around if the had coils/drop on a 500e... I'm guessing nobody has experimented with custom shortened Konis or other inserts. I think a stiffer shock more matched to what appears to be a higher spring rate would make a big difference after....

I didn't realize the rear wheels are wider that was my aha moment. That's for high speed stability I'd imagine that's why it still feels planted up to.... I haven't had the daily triple in this car but close.

A matched width set of light Konigs hyper/feather something or other and tires and an alignment first. I think I'll stick with 15" just for tire choices. Does anyone even sell 14" tires anymore? Good win racing I guess.
 

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14" wheels ARE even lighter than 15s, but they won't fit over our "Abarth-sized" front brakes. Since 99% of 500e braking is electromagnetic, I'd be temped to downsize to smaller, lighter (unsprung AND rotational!) standard 500 brakes, to then save even more unsprung rotational weight with smaller lighter 14" wheels.

500e drives FINE with the wider rims on the front. It just has less understeer. My buddy's came like that from the dealer. They probably did it since it's way cheaper to rotate like that than by remounting/balancing 4 wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
For me 14" wheels is probably a step too far just given tire choices and the look. I'm thinking like a Koenig Helium 15"x6.5 with 205/50/15 will fill out more wheel well area and have a nice light feel with a good contact patch. Maybe that's too big 195/55 or 195/50 is enough?

Also I like full stopping power. Have to investigate the brakes.
 

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14s would only fit if you downsized the brakes.

My 205s fit fine. The closest clearance is the inner sidewall near the bottom of the rear tires. There's a little bracket there that looks easy to bend or remove if necessary. MY 205s clear it, but not all 205s are the same width.

Brakes: Consider three 90-lb kids in a Pop. Now it weighs more than our empty cars, & their smaller brakes are still sufficient to activate ABS to avoid locking. You could take a couple of friends on a Pop test-drive to try it. On a track they would fade even more than ours, but in normal use where they only activate below 7mph, they'd stay fresh for any required panic stop, just not multiple panic stops in quick succession.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So you have dual brakes? I get that but there's no Porsche 996 upgrade like my under-braked e46.
 

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500e calipers function ONLY under VERY hard or sudden braking (which activates emergency mode), or below 7mph.

So even in fairly hard normal use that means only below 7 so they barely get warm.

If you tap the end of the wiper stalk your display will show power use & regen, so you can see exactly what it takes to activate them (regen goes to zero). It also shows on the right edge lights, switching from blue regen to green.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can tell when I brake through the braking barrier. Have you ever done repeated threshold braking to see when you fade the pads or boil the fluid?
 

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if you're going for better tires, might as well go 13" wheels, you can get great race rubber in that size (though usually for ~10" widths), 14" not so much


I agree the car is oversprung or underdamped, I'm tempted to get a set of coilovers for mine (I had a guy custom make a set for my miata, and he's interested in making a set valved for the 500E) but, for a daily commuter car I can't quite justify the cost. the factory suspension works, and I have the miata for fun in corners.
 

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The factory suspension works, and I have fun in corners. My favorite is 63mph on an offramp marked "30".

I don't think 13" wheels would even fit over downsized Pop brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I should also say that I like the way this little car handles....just to be clear.
I just think it can be a lot more chuckable.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I want to put something that will have a normal dot tread rating. Would be cool to raid the old-school mini parts bin I bet some cool rims. I used to have a 1978MY Mini wth the big 1100cc push rod motor. It rode on 10s and so neutral would slide all four in the nicest way imaginable.

I think 205/50/15 will be the perfect street tire/rim combo if it can fit. Maybe like a Falken Azenis. The stock Fiesta ST came with a pretty stick low treadwear tire Bridgestone RE050A. That tire is stupidly expensive but really does work for its money.

Miatas fit this 205/50/15 size and some of my old SE-Rs and NX2000 I would run this size as well. Lots of light Koenig rims available in 15x6.5 15x7 4x100. low offset like 25mm or so...
 

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That's what I have!

205/50/15 on light Koenig 15 x 7 "Advanti" 4x100 rims*, BUT with 35mm offset & they still clear, (pic attached below), even without bending the handbrake cable bracket or bending/cutting the unused bracket.

6.5" rim width WOULD be even lighter AND allow for some even lighter (but narrower) tire choices, but when I was shopping they only made 7" rims. The only reasonably-priced rims I found that were lighter were Enkei RPF1 but they were over $200 more per set so I couldn't justify that to save 1 lb per corner & not look as good to me.

*with floating-cone ("wobble") bolts that are long enough for America's Tire approval.

Rear left tire, where clearance is tightest. Click to enlarge:
205 clearance.jpg
 

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1) You're not kidding about the tire shredding though. Mine has walked through a set of Firestone Firehawks pretty quickly.

2) Is there a tutorial for running wobble bolts to get 4x 98 mm to 4x100? That's the stock size 4x98mm? I'll have to read some FAQs but that seems to be the play here.

3) I may just properly bore out whatever needed for a better selection.

4) What's the hub bore on these beasts? I'm guessing it will take some math to order a proper set of hub-centric rings.
1) Ya, both me & my 55-year old female friend wore out full sets of front-to-rear rotated OEMs in under 6k mi. When I measured my Hankooks after 5.5k they were on track for over 17k, which is of course much better but I think still qualifies me for my screen name :devilish:

2) Yes, the stock hub bolt pattern is 4x98. Nothing wobbles, so I dislike the term "wobble", but it's a lot simpler than "floating cone". The only "tutorial" advice I can think of is if you want America's Tire to work on it (& I most certainly do!) you need bolts that are long enough for at least 8 full turns of loosening before they come out. This depends on the thickness of the "clamping area" of your wheels' center sections, but you can measure that & add 10mm (or 7/16") for the 8 turns. You'll have to determine if your bolt supplier is measuring from the top or bottom of the cone, or maybe even from the top of the head.

3) It's basically impossible to bore a hole so slightly offset from an existing hole. Even if you could, said hole would be much larger than might be safe. To fit on our 4x98 hubs, a 4x100 wheel needs to have at least 0.545" holes (13.84mm), for the bolts to align with the hub. My Advanti Storms' holes were slightly too small. This may sound unbelievable, so I preface it with the fact that it has worked perfectly for over 10k mi, with many sliding corners, several burnouts & a panic stop: I just hand-drilled the stock holes with a 7/16" bit! ($20 at Home Depot) The same thing that makes it impossible to bore out a hole off-center, makes it very easy to bore them out ON center. :)

4) Our hubs require centering rings with I.D. of 58mm (2.285"). I ordered mine on eBay before I realized they were coming from Slovenia, but they still came in just a few days. I thought plastic was a bit cheesy but they seem to work fine.
 

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if you're going for better tires, might as well go 13" wheels, you can get great race rubber in that size (though usually for ~10" widths), 14" not so much


I agree the car is oversprung or underdamped, I'm tempted to get a set of coilovers for mine (I had a guy custom make a set for my miata, and he's interested in making a set valved for the 500E) but, for a daily commuter car I can't quite justify the cost. the factory suspension works, and I have the miata for fun in corners.
That’s probably why I feel like the car floats on bumps on the freeway it feels like a 90s Camry on the highway I kinda hate it. It’s also not very steady above 75mph it gets easily sidetracked or side to side steering. The car seems mostly happy at 65 or below, wind noises and stability getting a little tiresome at times a “normal” speeds of people mostly doing 80mph.
 

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1) Ya, both me & my 55-year old female friend wore out full sets of front-to-rear rotated OEMs in under 6k mi. When I measured my Hankooks after 5.5k they were on track for over 17k, which is of course much better but I think still qualifies me for my screen name :devilish:

2) Yes, the stock hub bolt pattern is 4x98. Nothing wobbles, so I dislike the term "wobble", but it's a lot simpler than "floating cone". The only "tutorial" advice I can think of is if you want America's Tire to work on it (& I most certainly do!) you need bolts that are long enough for at least 8 full turns of loosening before they come out. This depends on the thickness of the "clamping area" of your wheels' center sections, but you can measure that & add 10mm (or 7/16") for the 8 turns. You'll have to determine if your bolt supplier is measuring from the top or bottom of the cone, or maybe even from the top of the head.

3) It's basically impossible to bore a hole so slightly offset from an existing hole. Even if you could, said hole would be much larger than might be safe. To fit on our 4x98 hubs, a 4x100 wheel needs to have at least 0.545" holes (13.84mm), for the bolts to align with the hub. My Advanti Storms' holes were slightly too small. This may sound unbelievable, so I preface it with the fact that it has worked perfectly for over 10k mi, with many sliding corners, several burnouts & a panic stop: I just hand-drilled the stock holes with a 7/16" bit! ($20 at Home Depot) The same thing that makes it impossible to bore out a hole off-center, makes it very easy to bore them out ON center. :)

4) Our hubs require centering rings with I.D. of 58mm (2.285"). I ordered mine on eBay before I realized they were coming from Slovenia, but they still came in just a few days. I thought plastic was a bit cheesy but they seem to work fine.
Actually you can make any 4x100 to 98 most wheel shops just drill the hole bigger offset inward slightly and put a steel insert into the wheels, I’ve done them on my past Fords as they use a retarded 4x108.
 
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