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Fiat New 500

The Fiat New 500 (project 332), also known as the Fiat 500e is a battery-electric car by Italian manufacturer Fiat. The New 500 city car is manufactured at the Mirafiori plant in Turin and is sold alongside the conventionally-powered Fiat 500 (2007), which continues to be manufactured in Tychy, Poland. It was scheduled to be launched at the Geneva Motor Show but that event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was unveiled on 4 March 2020 in Milan.

The New 500 has a 320 km (199 mi) range on the European WLTP combined test, and achieves 400 km (249 mi) on that test's urban cycle, which is generally favourable toward electric vehicles (EVs). The car is powered by an 87 kW (116 hp) electric motor, fed by a 42 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Overview

Sergio Marchionne called for FCA to pivot towards electric and hybrid automobiles starting in 2018, including an all-new electric 500 by 2020. Previously, FCA had assembled the 500e, a BEV derived from the 2007 Fiat 500 but limited to the United States market only, at its Toluca Car Assembly plant in Mexico from December 2012 to June 2019. FCA showed the Fiat Centoventi concept at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2019; the Centoventi concept previewed what automotive industry believed to be a future BEV version of the Fiat Panda, which in turn was expected to form the basis for the next electric Fiat 500. The concept Centoventi showcased a modular battery concept, allowing an extended range using dealer-installed battery packs.

In July 2019, FCA announced plans to invest €700 million in its Mirafiori plant to build a new production line devoted to its first BEV marketed in Europe, tentatively named the 500 BEV, with production to start in the second quarter of 2020. The new line was planned to have an annual production capacity of 80,000 500 BEVs. FCA invested another €50 million to build a battery production line at Mirafiori in October 2019. Camouflaged prototypes of the 500 BEV were photographed while undergoing tests in December 2019.

The public unveiling amid the COVID-19 pandemic on 4 March 2020, previously scheduled for Geneva, was led by FCA Chief Marketing Officer Olivier François, who said they held the event in Milan "to show that FCA stands close to Milan and to Italy." The New 500 sits on a totally new platform and is slightly bigger than its 2007 predecessor. Compared to the earlier 500, the New 500 is 6 cm (2.4 in) longer, 6 cm (2.4 in) wider, and 4 cm (1.6 in) taller, with a 2 cm (0.79 in) increase in wheelbase. The older 500 is equipped with an internal-combustion engine or a mild hybrid drivetrain and will remain on sale.

Models

The New 500 was initially available only as a two-door cabriolet four-seater in the La Prima trimline, with production limited to 500 examples per country. Before any local incentives, the La Prima launch editions have a retail price of €37,900 in Italy. La Prima was available in one of three colours: Mineral Grey, Ocean Green, and Celestial Blue, designed to be reminiscent of the earth, sea, and sky, respectively; the soft top was finished with an exclusive monogram logo.

A three-door hatchback followed in June 2020, starting at £26,995, and Fiat introduced a four-doored hatchback designated 3+1 in October of that year, with a small rear-hinged door on the passenger's side to enhance access to the rear seat, with availability limited to left-hand-drive cars. At that time in the UK, the entry-level three-door was offered as the Action model with a smaller 24 kW-hr battery at £22,995, the more expensive Passion and Icon models were offered at £26,495 and £27,995, respectively, and were equipped with a 42 kW-hr battery. The top of the line remained La Prima at £30,495.

In Autumn 2021, Fiat announced a new Product Red branded edition, fitted with the 42kWh battery and available in hatchback and convertible styles. The Passion trim level, which included different wheel designs, a seven-inch touchscreen media system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a digital radio, climate control, folding rear seats, and cruise control, was withdrawn.

Limited production

Three additional one-off models styled by well-known designers were announced with the launch of the New 500; proceeds from the auctions of the 500 Giorgio Armani, B.500 "MAI TROPPO" ("Never Too Much") by Bvlgari, and the 500 Kartell will benefit environmental organizations set up by Leonardo DiCaprio. The Kartell and Bvlgari models were created through a partnership between FCA and Altagamma. These were not the first Fiat-fashion limited editions; previously, Frida Giannini of Gucci had collaborated with Fiat Centro Stile to produce a special edition of the preceding Fiat 500 (2007 model), released in 2011.

Lasers were used to engrave the steel body panels on the Armani, which is finished in a grey-green matte silk effect that includes anti-pollution and anti-bacterial technologies. The seats are finished in a similar colour leather from certified sources. After the car was unveiled in front of Duomo Cathedral amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, it was moved throughout Milan to send a message of positivity to the city and Italy. The Kartell is finished in a monochrome Kartell blue colour, extending to metal, plastic, and rubber exterior surfaces. The wheels, front grille, side mirror housings, and dashboard are covered in a plastic texture derived from the brand's Kabuki lamp, and the seats are upholstered with 100% recycled polypropylene.

An Imperial Saffron orange paint finish is applied to the exterior of the B.500 from Bvlgari, using gold dust reclaimed from the firm's manufacture of jewelry; inside, recycled silk scarves from the marque cover the dashboard and are used to trim the leather seats. The steering wheel features a removable brooch set with amethyst, topaz, and citrine stones. In addition, a special hatbox and jewelry case were made for the B.500; the gold key to the automobile, set with an ancient coin, may also be worn as jewelry.

Abarth New 500e

The Abarth New 500e Scorpionissima is a performance variant that was released in 2023. It made its official debut on 22 November 2022, featuring unique scorpion-badged alloy wheels. Initially, it will be released in a Scorpionissima edition limited to 1,949 examples. Scorpionissima models will be available in a choice of Acid Green or Poison Blue colours, bearing unique side graphics and wheels. The first deliveries were scheduled for June 2023.

It has a single electric traction motor that produces 114 kW (153 hp) and 235 N⋅m (173 lbf⋅ft), an increase of 26.7 kW (35.8 hp) and 15 N⋅m (11 lbf⋅ft) over the standard motor, and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7 seconds. The enhancements in power and torque output are derived from improved inverter and battery wiring, and a reduction in the final-drive ratio. The Abarth also swaps the rear drum brakes on the New 500 for discs.

Three driving modes are offered: Turismo, Scorpion Street, and Scorpion Track; output power and torque are limited to 100 kW (130 hp) and 220 N⋅m (160 lbf⋅ft) in Turismo. Scorpion Street maximizes regenerative braking, simulating the engine braking effect of a conventional car equipped with a manual transmission, while Scorpion Track sacrifices range for performance. In manufacturer testing at Balocco, the Abarth 500e is able to complete laps 1 second quicker than the Abarth 695. Total weight is 1,410 kg (3,110 lb), including the 295 kg (650 lb) battery.

Charging hardware is carried over from the regular New 500 equipped with the larger battery, at rates up to 85 kW. The Abarth 500e has a battery with a capacity of 42.2 kWh (gross) and 37.3 kWh (net), giving the vehicle a claimed range of 264 km (164 mi) under the WLTP driving cycle with the standard 17-inch wheels; equipping the 18-inch wheels reduces range to 253 km (157 mi). Real-world mixed driving with 18-inch wheels indicated an actual range of 212 km (132 mi), with consumption of 3.4 mi/kWh.

North America

Fiat was expected to unveil the North American specification New 500 at the 2023 Los Angeles Auto Show, before going on sale in the first quarter of 2024 as a 2024 model year. However, Stellantis was absent from the Show and the 500 debuted on the Web on December 6. At the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show held in November, Fiat brought three 500-based concepts designed by Armani, Kartell, and Bulgari. A Product Red version of the 2024 FIAT 500e is available to order from some dealerships in the U.S., British Columbia, and Quebec as of February 2024, available only in red. Availability may expand to other parts of Canada later.

Fiat 600e

Unveiled on 4 July 2023, the Fiat 600e is a 5-door crossover SUV with a design inspired by the New 500.

Sales and production

Production began in February 2020, shortly after FCA completed the new production line at Mirafiori. Production was paused starting on 13 March 2020 during the nationwide lockdown in Italy due to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infections. By August 2022, it was the best-selling electric car in Italy.

The New 500 competes with electric city cars like the BMW i3, Honda e, Mini Electric (marketed as the Mini Cooper SE in all markets outside the UK), Peugeot e-208, Renault Twingo Electric, Renault Zoe, Smart Forfour, and the Volkswagen Group New Small Family platforms (SEAT Mii / Škoda Citigo / Volkswagen e-Up). Alongside Honda e, the New 500 was compared to the Ford 021C concept of 1999. As of 2020, sales were limited to Europe only; other markets, such as Brazil and Israel, followed starting in 2021. Exports to the U.S. could follow if there is sufficient demand. The New 500 is expected to go on sale in North America by the first quarter of 2024.

Equipment

The New 500 is the first city car with level 2 autonomous driving, and the first FCA car equipped with the new UConnect 5 infotainment system. The ADAS systems include Autonomous Emergency Brake with pedestrian and cyclist detection; Intelligent Speed Assistant; Lane Control; Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (iACC) and Lane Centering; and Emergency Call.

The Android-based UConnect 5 infotainment system is displayed on a 10.25-inch (26 cm) touchscreen. It has Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity, automatic call to the emergency services, and can also be used to monitor the car or control certain functions remotely using a smartphone app.

Under European Union law, all EVs must produce some form of noise at low speeds to make pedestrians aware of their presence. Most cars use a spaceship-like tone; the New 500 will instead play the score from Amarcord, composed by Nino Rota, when cruising below 20 kilometres per hour (12 mph). According to Fiat, alternative sounds will be downloadable in the future.

Performance

The New 500 is offered with a choice of two motor and battery combinations. One is fitted to the entry level Action trim in the UK, equipped with a 94 bhp (70 kW) motor and a 24 kWh battery (21.2 kWh usable) that charges at up to 50 kW. The second are equipped in the higher level Passion, Icon, Red, and La Prima trims, with a 87 kW (117 hp) motor, 42 kWh battery (37.3 kWh usable), and 85 kW charger. With the larger battery and more powerful motor, the car is limited to 93 mph (150 km/h); these models can accelerate from 0–50 km/h (31 mph) in 3.1 seconds and 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.0s. The smaller battery reduces power and also weight, by 100 kg (220 lb), resulting in an acceleration of 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.5s. Both battery models can accelerate to 0–50 km/h (31 mph) in 3.1 seconds; the top speed is limited to 84 mph (135 km/h).

The New 500 has three driving modes branded Normal, Range, and Sherpa. Fiat's press release describes the features of Sherpa mode thusly: "Just like a Himalayan Sherpa, who is in charge of the whole expedition and guides it to the destination, this driving mode adjusts various parameters: maximum speed, limited to 80 km/h (50 mph); accelerator response, in order to reduce energy consumption; and deactivation of the climate control system and heated seats." Range mode enables one-pedal driving, with strong regenerative braking as the throttle pedal is lifted.

Charging

The New 500 models with a 42 kWh battery can accommodate DC fast charging at up to 85 kW, while the base model with the smaller 24 kWh battery is limited to 50 kW; all have an on-board AC charger that accommodates up to 11 kW. At 85 kW, it takes 5 minutes to add enough charge to travel 50 kilometres (31 mi). The fast charger can charge the 42 kWh battery from 0 to 80% in just 35 minutes at 85 kW, or from 10 to 80% in 30 minutes for the smaller 24 kWh battery. A CCS Combo Type 2 inlet located on the rear right fender of the car accommodates both AC and DC charging.

The Launch Edition also includes the easyWallbox, a home charging station developed by Engie for FCA that can be connected to a normal home outlet to supply power at 2.3 kW; the easyWallbox can be upgraded to supply up to 7.4 kW.

Safety

Euro NCAP

The 500e in its standard European market configuration received 4 stars from Euro NCAP in 2021.

References

External links

  • Official website

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