A sales update from Stellantis dated January 7, 2022, confirms that the Fiat 500e was the best-selling electric car in Italy in 2021. Having propelled to 10,753 sales out of 67,000 total EV sales, the 500e commands an impressive 16% EV market share in the country.
On the new Fiat 500e
The Fiat 500 is an iconic model, and unlike other famous nameplates that get a redesign with every generation, the 500 has retained its overall design with unusually lengthy lifecycles. Unveiled in 2020, the new 500e looks much the same, but that doesn’t mean Fiat designers were lazy. To have a new generation in an electric platform without deviating from the original design proved challenging.
The Fiat 500e employs a 42 kWh lithium-ion battery. Measuring 3.63 m long, 1.69 m wide, and 1.48 m tall, it makes a maximum power of 118 hp and can go from 0 to 100 km/h in nine seconds, while the top speed is 150 km/h (limited). The battery can be charged to 80 per cent capacity in 35 minutes with an 85 kW fast charger.
The 500e gets ‘Infinity Design’ LED headlamps that split at the bonnet edges, a grille and bumper that is redone to stay faithful to the original yet look futuristic, and the 500 badge replacing the Fiat logo on the grille. The rear has new E-motif tail lamps and a more rounded-off tail section. Changes are more prominent inside with a revamped dashboard, with the new car looking nothing like its predecessor. The instrument cluster is a 7-inch digital unit, while the centre console gets a 10.25-inch touchscreen system with Uconnect multimedia support. The Uconnect system supports internet connectivity and is accessible via an app.
The car comes with level 2 autonomous driving. Key safety features include Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Assistant and Lane Control, Autonomous Emergency Brake with pedestrian and cyclist recognition, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Centering. The Fiat 500e’s prices start at £23,835 in the UK (OTR, before government grant).
Fiat 500e scores 5/5 in Green NCAP assessment
Fiat’s electric car scored top marks in the Green NCAP rating and became the first EV to do so last year. According to a press release issued by Stellantis on August 18, 2021, the new 500 scored a five-star rating with top scores in all three Green NCAP test areas. These include the Clean Air Index, Energy Efficiency Index and Greenhouse Gases Index. The car is also the first to score 10/10 in the Energy Efficiency Index.
The Green NCAP assessment was launched in 2019 and used laboratory and real-world testing to gauge the environment-friendliness of new cars. According to the report, the New 500 was marked on laboratory tests, including cold, warm, cold ambient, and highways tests. In contrast, real-world tests included typical on-road driving with a heavy load, with a light load and a short trip while stuck in congestion.
The report says that all three indexes in the Green NCAP assessment are rated equally. These include health which is affected by pollutant emissions, customer spending, which is influenced by the vehicle’s energy efficiency and the earth’s future that again is affected by greenhouse gases.
Abarth 500e in the works?
At the Stellantis EV Day 2021, Olivier Francois, CEO, Fiat, revealed that the Fiat 500e is the no.1 EV in Italy and the no.1 electric city car in ten countries. With the introduction of the Dacia Spring and next-generation electric city models such as the VW ID.2, Seat Urbano and the Renault 5, the 500e needs new tricks to maintain audience interest.
The Fiat 500e is available in three different body styles, and in the next few years, it could receive an Abarth variant. Francois said that Abarth will switch to electric powertrains in 2024. While he didn’t mention the nameplates in contention for the ‘hot’ version, the 500 and Abarth are inseparable, and the performance brand would likely enter the EV segment with a souped-up 500e and 500e cabrio.
Fiat 500e Van
Stellantis also plans to give the model a push with a commercial version, as per a report by Automotive News Europe on April 14, 2021. The company has confirmed that a Fiat 500e van is in the pipeline to meet the demands of small commercial vehicle customers.
The Fiat 500e could serve as a last-mile delivery vehicle in urban locations, especially in cities or areas with a restriction on ICE vehicles in the future. It could have a flat floor, deleted rear seats, disabled rear-lateral opaque windows, and a mesh bulkhead dividing the front-seat area from the cargo area. It will likely compete with the Renault Zoe Business/Cargo/Van variant, with a sub- £29,000 price tag in the UK.
Production of the Fiat 500e Van will take place alongside the other 500e versions at the Mirafiori plant in Italy and is likely to be launched this year.