New Fiat 500 and 500C electric

Retro-styled Fiat 500 looks to the future with new all-electric model

New Fiat 500 and 500C electric

New Fiat 500 and 500C electric 1920 1280 Jack

In 2007, the car that got Italy motoring in their masses during the 20th century was reborn. The Fiat 500 was reimagined as a retro-yet-modern fashion icon that soon took most of the world by storm, and arguably helped Fiat stay afloat during the tough global recession of 2008 onwards.

The new 500 at the time came with all the cutting-edge technologies that made it bang up to date, including frugal petrol and diesel models and stop-start battery technology. However, in technological terms, 2007 was a very long time ago. To keep right at the front of the pack, Fiat has once again completely reimagined the 500 for the new decade with the third-gen, all-electric new model.

And no, unlike most cars on sale today, the electric powertrain isn’t simply an optional extra which you can choose to ignore – it’s electric or nothing. The current generation, however, will continue to be sold alongside the new 500 with more conventional powertrains, although it’s unknown how long Fiat will continue selling the current generation alongside the new model.

New Fiat 500 electric and battery range

Continuing on with the theme of ‘retro-looking but fully modern’, the new 500 comes packed with features and technology that bring it comfortably into 2020. In your cute little city car, you will have a 42kWh battery pack that’s paired with a nippy 117bhp motor that’ll see you comfortably reach 93mph. That battery will officially return you 199 miles on the WLTP test cycle, but how does that stack up against its rivals?

The similarly fashion-conscious Mini Electric comes with a much smaller 29kWh battery pack (apparently for lightness and handling agility, according to Mini) that returns just 144 miles officially. Similarly, the Honda E, another small electric city car, can only muster an official 137 miles of range. The 500 comfortably beats the aging BMW i3, too, with its 160-mile claim. However, other competitors such as the Peugeot e-208 can return 211 miles of range, meaning that whilst the new 500 isn’t a game-changer with its range, it certainly is in the upper tier of stamina in its supermini electric class.

With competitive range also comes very competitive charging rates, too. Fiat says the new 500 will rapid charge at up to 85kW, which results in the battery charging to 80% in just 35 minutes – or in other words, a modest break at the motorway service station. Even more impressively, Fiat also say the 500 can add 31 miles of range in just five minutes of rapid charging, which once again puts it firmly within its most competitive rivals.

New Fiat 500 electric design and style

Fiat haven’t forgotten about modernising the interior, either. Gone is the dated dashboard – now replaced with a minimal look that’s dominated by a 10.25in touchscreen. Within that, you’ll find all the usual technologies such as sat-nav, reversing camera, Wi-Fi hotspot, and Apple CarPlay.

Inside, the 500 is completely new, with clear references to the first generation. Centro Stile has furnished the interior by distributing the bulk efficiently to achieve simplicity, trim aesthetics and provide visual clarity. This is exemplified by the wide dashboard and the modular storage solutions between the two front seats where the gear lever was originally located. There is more leg and shoulder space for occupants, while the flat floor houses the lithium batteries without compromising the luggage compartment capacity, which remains unchanged. The result is a well thought out and cleaner interior, with fewer buttons and crisp, harmonious lines. As per Fiat 500 hybrid, some trim levels will also receive seats made using “Seaqual” yarn with plastic recovered from the sea, while others make considerable use of eco-leather.

Fiat has been careful not to ruin the 500’s cute retro looks. Just like the previous generation, a careful blend between retro style and cutting-edge technology has been achieved in a package that will no doubt fly off the production line.

Sales are expected to begin soon after a summer launch event, however you will be limited to the highly spec’d convertible ‘La Prima’ special edition model of which only 500 will be built with a starting price north of £29,000. You do get an easyWallbox home charger thrown in as a sweetener.

More affordable and modest models in the line up are expected to appear towards the end of 2020 and start of 2021.

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