At this point Fiat has recalled around 271 of its 500e electric vehicle. The issue revolves around half-shaft bolts which according to Chrysler transfer torque from a vehicle’s gearbox to its wheels.
The Pontiac GTO had similar issues, with owners hearing a loud thunk under the car or a nasty grinding sound. One poster on a GTO forum said "luckily it happened as I was going really slow so the half shaft didn't turn into an arm of death swinging around and destroying everything in it's path." What many GTO owners had done was to remove the bolts and use Loctite to ensure their half-shafts didn't break. After all nobody wants an "arm of death swinging around." Pontiac never issued a recall on the problem according to reader jphamilton.
According to Chrysler an investigation was launched when the company learned a customer’s vehicle exhibited power loss. Engineers discovered two assembly steps had not been properly completed; creating a condition that could lead to half shaft separation. Chrysler is covering all costs to repair the problem of approximately 270 owners and will provide total numbers to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA).
The Fiat 500e has accrued excellent reviews because of its drivetrain redesign incorporating the bits and pieces needed to turn the 500 platform into an electric car. Jalopnik's Jason Torchinski points out:
"Interestingly, this is one of the few cars I've driven that are electric converts from gas models where the handling characteristics get actually improved. The original 500 has a very nose-heavy weight distribution of 63/37 front to rear, while the 500e has a nearly optimal 53/47. My idiot savant readers may recall that that's the exact same weight distribution as the wonderfully-handling FR-S."
Of course he didn't experience any "swinging arms of death" which probably helped in Jason's characterization of the diminutive eCar.