Those who will purchase the 2013 Fiat 500e will benefit from a free rental car for up to 12 days annually. However, insurance and other charges are still applicable.

Those who will purchase the 2013 Fiat 500e will benefit from a free rental car (only the car is free) for up to 12 days annually.

This will be possible from a national auto retail chain through a program known as "ePass". According to Fiat North America chief Tim Kuniskis, these free rentals will allow 500e customers to eliminate possible range anxiety. The whole idea came from one of Fiat's dealers while talking about how to solve marketing problems related to an EV.

Fiat teamed up with Enterprise Holdings for this program and each buyer will receive a business account and points to rent a conventional-powered vehicle for up to 12 days / year. In addition, at the first two anniversaries of the vehicle purchase Fiat will deposit extra points. Just like in any car rental agreements, the customer will have to pay insurance and other charges so basically this service is not entirely free.

If this sounds familiar, BMW has plans for a similar service which will provide i3 owners with a free or discounted regular BMW for a "given number of days per year".

Scheduled to go on sale this summer in the United States, the 500e has officially been rated by EPA to return 122 MPGe city / 108 MPGe highway / 116 MPGe combined. The Italian company says it will have annual running costs of around 379 USD based on traveling 15,000 miles each year.

The Fiat 500e has a 24 kW lithium-ion battery and a 111 bhp (83 kW) electric motor providing an instant torque of 147 lb-ft (200 Nm). It can reach a top speed of 85 mph (137 km/h) and can be driven for approximately 87 miles (140 km) before running out of juice.

Pricing will be announced on April 13 and will be available at first only at the firm's 25 dealerships in California.

Gallery: Fiat 500e buyers will get a free rental car for up to 12 days annually, sort of