Fiat has introduced the first of what could be pure electric vehicles (EVs) to come out from the Italian automaker. Their first foray into EVs won't be a dedicated model. Instead, they have electrified their retro-inspired 500 and turned it into the 500e.
The Fiat 500e is powered by an 88 kW electric motor paired to a 42 kWh lithium-ion battery. With that, the electric drive system produces 118 PS although the torque figure was not mentioned by the company. Charging time is claimed to be as little as 35 minutes for 80 percent capacity when the AC fast charger is used. Standard home charging on the other hand will take 14 hours for full battery capacity.
Fiat says that one full charge is good for 320 kilometers as tested to WLPT (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure) standards, which is the typical city range for subcompact cars with internal combustion engines. For those curious about performance, the manufacturer says it can do the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 9 seconds flat. Top speed on the other hand is limited to 150 km/h.
As for the exterior, the automaker took some cues from the original 500, most notably at the front end. For instance, the nose of the small hatchback is much more prominent with defined lines inspired by the 1957 model. They also changed the bottom 'grill' and it now sports a new pattern. Headlights on the other hand have been totally redesigned. While it's still circular, Fiat 'split' the lights with the top half on the hood serving as a daytime running light. Tail lights have a new cluster design.
Inside, the dash draws more inspiration from the classic. Its ovoid shape is an ode to the past with lines and curves kept to a minimum. Fiat cleverly hid the air-conditioning vents to maintain that look. With no gear shifter in the way, there's free space formed between the center stack and console. There's even a storage shelf on the stack itself for added versatility. Bringing it to the modern age is a wide infotainment screen and a fully digital instrument cluster.
For now at least, the 500e comes in convertible form although hardtop versions are to be expected. Do note that the standard fuel-fed models will still come with the old look, although the 500e could also be a preview of what future 500 hatchback, might look like.