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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Trying to decide;
  • outdoor parking only, in Chicago
  • no charging possible at home
  • public charging a block away
  • can use another car if it gets too cold
  • limited local service, fiat dealer @ 21 miles

1. Can the 500e just rest until the cold weather passes, or will the thermal management system kick in and drain the battery(s) even though the car is not being used?

2. Should I expect a (non-Fiat) dealer to include a used-car warranty, and of what duration (not a 3rd party extended warranty)?
 

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2013 FIAT 500e
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Agreed, depending on the other variables, but most importantly, if you let a 500e "just rest until the cold weather passes" in CHICAGO it seems like that might take a few months, & if you leave it parked unplugged too long it will kill it. Click here for "How To Kill a 500e".

Parked unplugged it loses about 15% charge per month, & once it gets too far below 0% it's dead. Dead-dead. Unable to recharge at all, short of removing the 600-pound battery pack.

HOWEVER:
  • Parked because it's "too cold" for what? A 500e is more likely to start in the cold than a gas car, & it has instant cabin heat/defrost. Range drops though, but like @Kiesling asked, it depends on how far you need to go: I have a US-average commute & my 2013 would still make it even if it was so cold that it reduced range by 66%.
  • You say "no charging possible at home", but it's a very popular myth that an extension cord won't work. It will. My co-worker did that at home & at work, with a 100-foot cord. Click here for cord thickness required vs length.
  • My home outlet was broken for a while, & I often couldn't charge at work since my co-worker AND boss both used that extension, but I was fine just stopping to charge on my way home, which adds about 25 miles per hour. I'd just take a walk or go online with my phone there instead of doing those at home. Nice change of scenery ;). However, on MY route there are 22 free chargers (& I think about twice as many that are $1/hr), so if you REALLY can't charge at home or work you'd definitely want to check PlugShare.com AND drive by every station during your normal daily activities to check availability. Walking around them while charging, I've found several active standard outlets within extension cord range, for emergency charging if I want to wait if all the plugs are in use.
  • Nearly everyone only needs a dealership for the software updates (last one was Sept 13, 2018) but any FCA dealer can do that free (Chryser, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, etc.). Besides that, in the first 10 years the only scheduled service it needs is available everywhere: Wipers, bulbs, 12V battery (same as a gas 500), tires, & just inspection of the brakes/steering/suspension. Even at 10 years it just needs a coolant flush/fill that requires a few taps on a $49 lifetime-membership phone app connected to a $16 OBD dongle, so I'll likely take mine to one of the local Bosch Car Service centers for that.
  • A non-Fiat dealer should also be able to provide an extended warranty, but someone mentioned they sometimes sell you one even if it has fine print that it only applis to gas cars, so that they don't have to warranty a complex/expensive hybrid. It might be better to get an independent one so you're not "married" to that one dealer for service even if their only EV tech leaves. I shopped around a bit for independent extended warranties & it seemed like Mercury Insurance was really good, but to purchase it they require the car still have X-months of factory warranty remaining. I think it extended the warranty by 10 years from the date you purchase the extension, & 100k miles total.
 

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My Nephew use to live in downtown Chicago. He finally finally rented a $$$ garage, for his car. With the 500e, there are no charging stations, more unless even parking places. Your winters are brutally cold. There isn’t anywhere, in the Chicago metro to service a 500e. Even under a extended warranty. From other members, on this forum. Seems to be numerous issues with the 500e. A independent shop, wouldn’t even know how to work on a 500e. You sit in Chicago traffic, for hours under bad weather. I know!

Do you really need a EV? If I were to go the EV route, I looked into the Chevy Bolt. Chevy at least stands behind that vehicle. Unlike Fiat that doesn’t. You don’t need to own 2 cars, owning a Bolt. It has a really good driving range. Any Chevy dealership can work on a Bolt.

I would personally if you have the money. Purchase the brand new 500e, that Fiat is planning to import here. At least there might be some FCA dealership, that will be able to service them.

Good Luck on you decision.
 

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..use to live in downtown Chicago... With the 500e, there are no charging stations...
I suspect that the key words are "use to":
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Chargers have been added rapidly. There used to be 4 free chargers on my normal 17-mile route. Now there are at least 22 free ones that I know of, plus about 50 that are only $1/hr, but they didn't used to be there either.
 

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I would personally if you have the money. Purchase the brand new 500e, that Fiat is planning to import here. At least there might be some FCA dealership, that will be able to service them.
Agreed, & if you don't have the money, the old 500e is currently being serviced by FCA dealerships (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, etc.)
 

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There isn’t anywhere, in the Chicago metro to service a 500e. Even under a extended warranty. From other members, on this forum. Seems to be numerous issues with the 500e.
The 500e is actually very reliable. It has ONE common issue which only seems to be "numerous":

Its computer gets a glitch once in a while when turning it on. It can manifest as any one of numerous false alarms, which makes it appear to be "numerous issues", even when they're all just from a glitch with the same solution:

It's nearly always corrected just by turning it off/on, but sometimes it needs to be off for 1.25 minutes. Rare cases require turning off 3 times. Even more rarely it requires disconnecting the 12V battery for 30 seconds. In over 6 years with a 500e as my only car, I've had to do that once. My friend's 3-year old gas "car of the year" has already required it.

Here's a Google map of "Bosch Car Service in Chicago". They are usually willing & able to work on the 500e, even if none of the FCA dealers on the bottom map will, but as I noted above, the only service that nearly everybody ever needs is even more readily available:
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok, thanks for all your input. No, I don’t need it for commuting, just for short local errands 2-4 times a week. No, I can’t possibly plug in from my 3rd floor city apartment, but would have emergency access to an outlet. If I could run it in cold weather the diminished range should be ok. I can charge (for free, at this time ) at a public station 1/2 block away, but worry that it won’t take a charge below some (?) temperature threshold. I just can’t park while plugged in or in a heated space. Given that, does it make sense?

My second question stands; should the dealer give some sort of limited used-car guarantee?
 

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A) In over 6+ years VERY closely following this forum (plus a few years very closely following the other one), the only issue I've ever seen with taking a charge at extremely low temperatures is one user who reported that if he didn't plug in right after driving (which warms the battery), if the battery cooled to below about minus 15F the key needed to be turned on in order to initiate a charge.

I don't think the key would need to be left on, but even if it did, with one key in the ignition you can lock the car with a cheap duplicate in the driver's door handle. When I do that, I hang my baseball cap over the wiper stalk to hide the key so it's not quite such a "steal me" magnet.

B) Sorry! No, the dealer should not be expected to give you any guarantee for free.

However, based on my own personal 6+ years experience with a 500e as my only form of transportation, I'd be pretty confident with a used 500e that passed every part of my comprehensive pre-purchase checklist (click here), along with the few considerations of my post-purchase checklist (click here).

IF you can afford one with sufficient remaining factory warranty to allow purchase of a Mercury or other 3rd party extended warranty, that might be something to consider.
 

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I can’t possibly plug in from my 3rd floor city apartment, but would have emergency access to an outlet.
A standard wall outlet adds about 5 miles every hour. That's 40 miles during 8 hours of sleep.

My boss plugs into an extension cord running from her 3rd floor city apartment, out the window, down to her building's underground parking.
 

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Trying to decide;
  • outdoor parking only, in Chicago
  • no charging possible at home
  • public charging a block away
  • can use another car if it gets too cold
  • limited local serv

I'd say no -- with the car's short range, I think home charging is essential. Otherwise it's going to be a constant battle to get it charged. Even with home charging, I believe 240v is critical for most owners. Otherwise a great car here in Los Angeles. There's no other car I'd rather be battling LA traffic in. Especially perfect for errands. If you don't have a regular parking spot with some kind of charging ability, I'd pass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
But there is (free for now) L2 public charging 1/2 block away, and Charge Point reports when it is available. I’m more worried that a local mechanic who does Fiats (only non-EV) doesn’t much like them due to his experience with “build quality issues”.
 

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The only "build quality issues" I can think of right now are all on parts shared with the non-EV!
  • Left door handle mechanism.
  • Left door lock mechanism (key stops working but fob still works until the battery dies in the car OR the fob).
  • Left door window mechanism (failure mode is 1st rattling, then failure to go UP).
  • Rear wheel bearings (small production run missing seals so they go bad at about 30k mi).
 

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I remembered a few more issues, but still all non-EV parts:
  • Right sideview temperature sensor.
  • Wheel speed sensors.
Could that mechanic count it as "build quality" that it's more reliable with the humidity sensor unplugged?

Can I count it as "non-EV" when the same-as-gas 12V starter battery sometimes wears out in 2 years?

OH! EV-only: The EV system is what prevents the 12V warning from appearing until after it's already dead, but you can just get your own even better Bluetooth alarm for $25 on Amazon or eBay or Walmart, such as this "BM2":
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
OK, finally got to test drive a 2017 500e; very impressed. I’ve a few questions before buying (do have the ETS check-list):
• No spare tire, I guess?
• Confirm that it should have 2 key fobs?
• I gather that all regen comes during braking, but how do I know if I’ve crossed into friction braking?
• How to test the AC function at the current cold (32 deg F) temps?
• Should it include a L1 charging cable?
• Confirm that the 12V battery should be less than 2 years old?
• I’d guess that the audible back-up assist system would help with parallel parking, but that a back-up camera would be better in a parking lot? Can you add one to a 2017?
 

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  • No spare tire was included, but it came with a compressor & sealant which expires, so get $X.xx off if it's expired, or $XX.xx if the whole kit is missing.
  • It should have 2 key fobs. If not, you can ONLY get a copy by taking the CAR to any FCA dealer & paying about $400. If you lose your only transponder key it costs $1500 PLUS towing it to an FCA dealer.
  • Regen shows as a little blue light at the lower right of the display when you lift the accelerator above 7mph, & a bigger blue light when you press the brakes. If you tap the wiper stalk tip, regen power shows as negative motor power kW. You can see that go to zero & the blue lights vanish when you cross into friction braking.
  • A/C might work if you set the temperature to "LO", or it might come on with defrost. You'll know it's on if the rad fans run.
  • It should come with an OEM L1 cable*. I would insist on the actual original part OR enough discount to buy an actual original replacement, since evidence indicates it may help correct some charging issues.
  • The 12V battery is only $120, or $63 if you downsize to twice as big as mine, to compensate for your cold weather.
  • The audible backup system works great. Just stop when it goes from a rapid beep to a steady tone. You can add a backup camera to any car, but a 500e is so small that with the rear seats down & the hatch shelf unclipped it has less need for that than anything besides maybe a roadster with the top down. If you have to have the back seats up it means you likely have passengers to get out & tell you when to stop ;).


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