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Upgrading battery for 500e

59265 Views 111 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  mrogers

I love my fiat 500e, but the range I get is closer to 70/75 miles than anything else advertised. It's fine but I always feels that I'm missing the extra 30 or 40 miles that would allow me move around more. Seeing many other EV going 120 or even 250 miles makes me really wish I could have the same kind of range. Looking around I saw that the 63Ah cells could be swapped with up to 120Ah cells (from Samsung apparently) as the volume is similar. I'm sure this is not as simple as it looks but was wondering if people had looked into this and found ways to increase the overall range of the car.

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I reset the trip A after my last post and now in the warmer weather the number is back up to 4.9 driving about the same as usually would. My normal drive is 75% rural/light city, 25% highway. If it is was all rural I'm sure the efficiency would be well over 5.0. The cold weather is surely the cause of the lower long term efficiency, but even in the warmer weather the consumption is still around 80% per 55 mile round trip.

I'm not really complaining as it still goes more than far enough, especially with charge options on both ends, but I can't help but to want more when the time comes. I don't particularly like any of the other EV options out there, so modifying an FF feels like a great option.
No rush though, since according to the numbers you gave, you'll still make the 55 mile round trip after another 156,000 miles.
Or just someone willing to actually do it & either:
  • It fails requiring resale of the i3 cells :rolleyes:
  • It works & we all learn how to get ~150% range :devilish:
I have a 2015 fiat 500e my charge range has been going up lately to 120 to 1223 miles before the charger shut off. Is there something wrong with the battery (is this normal???)
There is nothing wrong (it is normal).

"Range" on the VERY well-named GUESS-o-meter (GOM) is based on the last 10 miles of driving, & it assumes you will continue exactly the same, which is virtually never the case.

Drive a bit slower, or down hill before charging & since it thinks you will continue doing that, it will read higher when done. Drive a bit faster or uphill & it will read lower.
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I wasn't able to find any newer in depth threads on this topic so I'm reviving this one since there is good early discussion here. I'm still very interested in the 120ah cell upgrades, but there are a few concerns that still exist, and it seems interest has cooled significantly since the new 500e is coming to the US next year. I have the shop and the equipment to do the work and I'd like to find people interested in collaborating on this in some fashion that know more about the software and electronics than me or have better connections.

The biggest issue seems to be the availability of the cells, and I haven't found them anywhere, and buying used i3 modules or packs isn't exactly cheap yet. The other issue that causes me hesitation is whether the higher capacity cells will work electrically (specifically in terms of charging), but I don't see why not as all of the systems appear to watch is voltage, but please correct me if I'm mistaken. I don't care if the range meter is accurate, as it isn't now anyway (mine still reads over 120 miles at full charge...). The potential height difference of the cells doesn't seem like a big deal, but the need for fabrication doesn't bother me.

And as an update on my 2013 with over 90K miles, it has a maximum range of 90 miles but is more often 80 miles or a bit less in the now moderate weather, and based on the latest reported efficiency around 5.0 miles/kWh the pack is around 80-85% of its original capacity.
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Sounds about where I am at, I have a 2017 with 82k miles and it goes about 84 miles of my actual usage which is mostly highway driving, I used to get 100 miles when it was younger though. I get about 5.0-5.5 miles per kw sometimes drafting a RV or semi I can eek out over 6 miles a kw at 65mph
I dunno how y’all get such high mi/kwh figures. I’m 3-3.6 max.
It's mostly how far you press the right pedal. There's usually so much traffic on my drive that I can't get it lower than about 4. If there was no traffic & no cops I'd likely get about 2 :devilish:
Maybe instead of SDI batteries we could use Catl lifepo prismatics instead which would be certainly cheaper.
Yes, the CATL cells would be easier to source and probably cheaper, but the cells I was just able to quickly look up are too large for their capacity. The idea would be to use cells that can slip into the existing carriers and use the cooling solution as is. Changing that would be quite challenging. Something in the stock SDI 125 x 173 x 45 mm size range is ideal, give or take a few mm.

And regarding the 5.0 miles/kWh figure, my vehicle is stock is except no back seats and it sits about an inch lower than other 500e's for some reason. The springs are OEM and don't look cut. Other than that, my front toe is set to zero, and rear is at minimum toe in somewhere around 0.2 degrees.
regarding the 5.0 miles/kWh figure, my vehicle is stock is except no back seats and it sits about an inch lower than other 500e's for some reason. The springs are OEM and don't look cut.
That's very strange, & I wonder how you'd know for sure the springs are stock, but it explains higher mi/kWh because someone else reported significantly better range after lowering reduced air resistance. I think it was about 10-15% better, & I think it was @twinturboz
I would have to run the part numbers on the springs' parts tags to know for sure. I would have a hard time believing they aren't for a 500e though as the rear would sit quite a bit lower than the front on gas springs and ride much softer. I wondered if the some of the first year vehicles rode lower than others. Some of the press photo cars are noticeably lower like mine.

5% mileage improvement sounds more reasonable for a lowered vehicle that already has an air dam, but I'm not going to test it.

Also to continue the original conversation, as many of you may know, the new 500e uses a completely different pack design inside and out, so using cells from a new pack is out of the question without major work. Link to photos: Fiat e500 2022 42kWh battery – EV Clinic
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