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To be fair, most EVs released in the last 3 years do have range and charging sorted out. EV tech got better, but this car never got that stuff.

I fear the economics for these projects make less sense as Bolts and i3 get closer to $10k and handily beat the 500e in every objective way. That’s today. When the battery warranty is up for enough interested people, I’d expect we are flirting with 10 minute charges and standard 400mi+ packs. That sends current EV prices to where 500e is today and it’s closer than we think.
 

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That will be pretty cool! I’m looking forward to it. Although, let’s say, in 2 years as the tech gets better, there should be some somewhat obsolete wrecked or scrapped i3’s for example, where I might get a battery pack for 1500$ and can then convert mine. That’s sort of what I’m looking for. It could be a fun project, and, if the price is right, keep this little car viable for many more years.
 

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I get Carrrl's point, but from MY perspective, Neither Bolt nor i3 beat the 500e for ME, on MY crazy-narrow, crowded-parking local streets, zipping past double-parkers that would block a wider car, & parking where no other car would fit, besides a Smart.
 

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I’ve had the car close to a month and am finding it to be delightful, no joke. I want to keep it for years, and, if it costs me 1500-2000$ to upgrade the battery, that’s doable!

lets face it, Italian Design, Chrysler brainstorm (The electric part), German electric running gear and made in Mexico. Can’t beat any of that :)
 

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A local friend of mine switched from a 500e to a Tesla 3, & when I asked her ONLY about her Fiat's touchscreen, she said "I really miss my Fiat! It was so great for zipping around town.". ("ok, but what about the touchscreen?!")

Zipping around town is my personal primary use of a car, for me & many others. If my 500e got stolen or totaled, I would get another. The ONLY other car I can think of wanting is a 2nd-gen 500e, but its only advantage for ME is its 1-pedal regen mode: My old Fiat has 2.5 times my average US commute, & fully recharges that drive from an extension cord in a standard wall outlet before I wake up.
 

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I seriously do plan to attempt this upgrade, but not until after my battery starts having range issues. (So probably not for several years) I'll buy some of the 90ah and some of the 120ah cells from the i3 and compare them when I do before I buy the actual battery pack. In the mean time, I found this listing for the 90ah cells. I believe they are the same ones as in the i3:

let us know when you do
 

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After reading this discussion I contacted Scuderia to ask if they could upgrade the batteries on my 500e (I live Europe and drive an imported 2nd hand 500e from California).

Short version: they have stopped doing it and recommend getting the new version (introduction in Europe this year) and using the old 500e as a trade-in. It would make more financial sense apparently.

Long version:
1. After my initial question, Franco from Scuderia replied to me "I am very sorry but we have stopped the project"

2. Then I send this message:
...Thank you for your quick reaction but sorry to hear you (had to?) stopped with the project. Do you happen to know anybody in Europe which has experience in doing such an upgrade? If not, would it be possible to receive information from you on how to do it so I can try to find a garage and convince them to do it? Thanks again...

3. Reply from Franco:
it is very difficult to find a “simple garage” to assemble and change a battery of an existing electric vehicle like I did. I have tried based on a very long experience in EVs and had to create a separate BMS system which operates in parallel with the original BMS of Bosch since Bosch did not want to change some important parameters…
Long story short: I have spent tons of money for something that exceeds by far the cost of the today’s new Fiat 500e… so believe me it is not worth the work and the hassle. It will cost you less to buy the new Fiat 500e trading in your old one.


So for me this attempt to upgrade the batteries ends here. If anybody still wants to find out more details I suggest contacting Franco. Perhaps he is willing to part with more detailed information. On the BMS for example.
 

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3. Reply from Franco:
it is very difficult to find a “simple garage” to assemble and change a battery of an existing electric vehicle like I did. I have tried based on a very long experience in EVs and had to create a separate BMS system which operates in parallel with the original BMS of Bosch since Bosch did not want to change some important parameters…
Long story short: I have spent tons of money for something that exceeds by far the cost of the today’s new Fiat 500e… so believe me it is not worth the work and the hassle. It will cost you less to buy the new Fiat 500e trading in your old one.


So for me this attempt to upgrade the batteries ends here. If anybody still wants to find out more details I suggest contacting Franco. Perhaps he is willing to part with more detailed information. On the BMS for example.

Maybe he would be willing to share his info on the Bosch system, for him to know Bosch doesn't want to change parameters, he must know what to send the modules (canbus addresses/values) and what takes and what doesn't. It'd be a great value to the community if he did.
 

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Yes please. When I get to a point, and, I am ready to tackle this (my battery still has warranty for one thing), I, am going to buy a used i3 pack(s) and do this myself. Any tech help I could get would be wonderful.
 

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It would be interesting if someone could confirm if the same-"format" but 1cm taller (iirc) i3 cells fit in a 500e. Then, I believe voltage is the only thing the electronics can sense, so I'd think THAT upgrade would be straightforward. It might even be possible to figure out what BMW did when they upgrade(d) existing cars with our 60Ah(?) cells to 94Ah.
 

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Maybe he would be willing to share his info on the Bosch system, for him to know Bosch doesn't want to change parameters, he must know what to send the modules (canbus addresses/values) and what takes and what doesn't. It'd be a great value to the community if he did.

I contacted Franco again. Alas, no succes. See below his reply.

Hello again
I do electric cars as my profession not as a hobby, so for me the 500e project is now a dead/finished project.
I have moved since a year to something completely different. What I did is not replicable - unless you want to spend a six figures amount of Euros - and is not helpful for those having the standard Samsung/Bosch electric drive train and battery.
All the best,
Franco
 

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Thank you for your efforts. It does NOT have to mean this attempt to upgrade the batteries ends here*.

We don't need to change to cylindrical cells like Scuderia did (possibly changing voltage which would not work with the stock electronics), or add DC charge like they also did.

We may just be able to swap out our ~60Ah (specs vary) cells for ~94Ah, or even ~120Ah which I just saw someone posted as the same size, although they also posted the 94s are the same, while someone else posted they're 1cm taller, which still might fit, especially if Fiat had them in mind in case it would later be required for an easy production upgrade for subsequent model years.

*& even if it did, it could soon change with future developments in this rapidly-increasingly EV-friendly environment.
 

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I contacted Franco again. Alas, no succes. See below his reply.

Hello again
I do electric cars as my profession not as a hobby, so for me the 500e project is now a dead/finished project.
I have moved since a year to something completely different. What I did is not replicable - unless you want to spend a six figures amount of Euros - and is not helpful for those having the standard Samsung/Bosch electric drive train and battery.
All the best,
Franco
I guess I understand that electric cars are his job and not a hobby. But as the project is dead, the least he could do is provide curious minds the firmware and devices he used..... Just because copying his project exactly isn't monetarily useful, doesn't mean the information that his project requires wouldn't be.

BUT alas, you can't force someone to be helpful.
 

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Question, new to the EV world, but not to the Engineering side of the coin. I seem to recall a company in California that was involved with updated and recycled batteries for the Toyota Prius, maybe this company could have a bit of insight into the Fiat battery question. If I recall the company was/is named Electromotive, but I will stand corrected if that is not the name. I also believe the company was located in Orange County.

Cynical
 

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There are some videos on YT and discussion in the FB group. I think they are updating some additional hardware/software with the battery. Coding is a thing in the BMW world that makes mods easier as well.
Do you have links to some of the material? I don't have Facebook. :p
 

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From various FB posts in "BMW i3 Modified":

I haven't personally done it, but the general process is empty the air conditioning system, pull the battery, do an EOS test on the new battery, install the new battery, program with ista, recharge air conditioning system.
Several posts and discussions around Lion Smart who is working on an aftermarket 100kwh pack New battery concept “LIGHT Battery” – modular, safe and wireless | LION Smart GmbH

E-works Mobility GmbH is doing 60ah to 120ah swaps. From comments it appears 60ah to 94ah is relatively easy and affordable with a healthy pack trade in and some coding. 60ah to 120ah appears to need lots of additional electronics swapped and potentially reinforcement to support added weight. "The price was 6700 for the 120Ah battery, and 1550 for the installation and labour." (I assume this is in euros, so not cheap to say the least.)
 

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Is it better for the batteries to use level 1 charging or level 2? I have the level one charger and charges up over night, with no issues of course. But I have a chance to buy a good quality level 2 charger, and my shop has 240 I wired in for welders, etc. so as far as battery health, which would be best? I‘ve always heard lead acid batteries last longer being charged at lower rates over longer time. But no idea on the modern batteries.

Lance
 

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Is it better for the batteries to use level 1 charging or level 2? I have the level one charger and charges up over night, with no issues of course. But I have a chance to buy a good quality level 2 charger, and my shop has 240 I wired in for welders, etc. so as far as battery health, which would be best? I‘ve always heard lead acid batteries last longer being charged at lower rates over longer time. But no idea on the modern batteries.

Lance
Doesn't matter. 500e batteries are actively temperature managed. Also the currents of level 1 or level 2 is barely above a trickle charge in terms of the size of the battery pack.

If you have 240V available and can get a good deal on a level 2 EVSE, then go for it.

ga2500ev
 
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