Brand new version of Fiat’s cute city car now comes purely as an electric car with a 199-mile range
FIAT has gone radical for its all-new Fiat 500 and made the fashionable city car pure electric.
Slated to arrive in the UK early next year, the new baby Fiat will have a claimed 199-mile range and will launch as the 500C Convertible variant initially – a decision that will make the 500 unique in the electric car class.
So radical is the new car, Fiat is calling it the third-generation version, following the second generation ‘rebirth’ model of 2007 and, of course, the original of 1957.
The new Mk3 500, built in Turin, Italy, still looks very similar to the model it replaces, however, with a near identical silhouette to the 2007 model. The front is noticeably different, though, with a look that’s arguably more like the 1957 original than the 2007 car, with the split headlights being another retro touch.
While the shape is undeniably familiar, the new car has grown slightly in size – it’s both 60mm wider and longer than the old 500, and the wheelbase is 20mm longer, too, boosting interior space.
Speaking of the interior, Fiat has moved the 500 a touch upmarket with better quality materials and more in-car tech, too. There’s a smart new 10.25-inch high definition touchscreen with Apple CarPlay (and, coming later, Android Auto) functionality, and it runs Fiat’s new UConnect 5 infotainment system – the first FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) car to have the tech. The technology upgrade is also boosted with a new seven-inch display for the instrument panel.
Underneath is where the biggest changes lie, however, as the 500 Mk3 sits on a brand new platform that allows it to be purely electric powered. A 42kWh lithium-ion battery pack powers a 117bhp electric motor allowing the new 500 to reach a claimed 199 miles on a full charge, reach 0-62mph in nine seconds and top out at 92mph.
Drivers will have the choice of three driving modes: ‘Normal’ is just as the name implies, ‘Range’ increases brake regeneration to save range, while ‘Sherpa’ turns off the climate control and heated seats, and restricts the top speed to 50mph to preserve as much range as possible.
The new baby Fiat gets an 85kW DC charger which means an 80 per cent recharge takes 35 minutes. Most owners will be plugging their 500s into a 7.4kW wallbox charger – do that and the 500 takes a little over six hours to recharge. As an added bonus, Fiat will also be selling a 3kW home charger which can be plugged into a normal domestic socket, negating the need to have a costly professional installation.
The 500 will arrive early next year, initially as the 500C Convertible, and as a top-spec model. The ‘La Prima’ trim, costing £29,000 – which includes the Government’s plug-in car grant – will come with ‘eco-leather’ trim, 17-inch alloys, chrome exterior trim and the choice of three colours: Mineral Grey, Ocean Green and Celestial Blue. It’ll be the only model for a while until cheaper versions arrive later in 2021, including the conventional hard-topped hatchback model.
With a range of 199 miles, the Fiat trumps the MINI Electric and Honda e, but can’t beat the new Renault Zoe which can manage 245 miles on a full charge and starts at £25,670. Unusually, the outgoing petrol-only Mk2 version (built in Poland) will continue to be sold until the end of 2021.