DETROIT The new Fiat 500e achieved a rating of 116 miles per gallon equivalent in testing by the Environmental Protection Agency, the third-highest rating for electric vehicles in the United States, the EPA said on Friday.
The electric-powered version of the subcompact Fiat 500 will go on sale in California in the second quarter of this year, said Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne. Fiat has 25 dealerships, which it calls Fiat Studios, in California.
Miles per gallon equivalent, or MPGe, is a rating devised by the EPA to illustrate how a vehicle compares with a gasoline-powered one. It measures how many miles an electric vehicles can travel on a quantity of battery-generated electricity that has the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline.
The EPA said the 500e will get 122 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) and 108 MPGe in highway driving. The highway driving figure is the best among EVs.
The Fiat 500 arrived in U.S. showrooms in 2011.
Fiat SpA, based in Italy, is the majority owner of Chrysler.
Among 2013 models, only the Scion iQ EV, at 121 MPGe, and Honda Motor Co's Honda Fit EV, at 118 MPGe, have better combined highway-city driving ratings, according to the EPA website. Scion is the youth-oriented brand of Toyota Motor Corp.
EPA testing also showed that the 500e, marketed as being "environmentally sexy," will travel an average of 87 miles on a fully charged battery.
The Fiat 500e will be assembled in Toluca, Mexico.
(Reporting By Bernie Woodall; Editing by Leslie Adler)