Fiat is the latest car manufacturer to bring an electric model to the market – and it comes in the shape of the retro 500.
The third-generation 500 – due to be launched at the Geneva Motor Show this week before it was cancelled – will only be sold as an EV with a battery range of almost 200 miles and a top speed of 93mph.
It won’t be cheap, though. Top of the range examples will hit the UK market first, and even with the help of the Government’s £3,500 subsidy will cost £29,000 – but this might not be extended beyond March 2020 and this electric 500 won’t launch until 2021.
This also makes it well over twice the price of petrol model currently on sale. You can pick up a 1.2-litre Pop for £12,165.
Fiat’s electric-only 500: The city car has been the Italian brand’s most successful model of the recent era. The third-generation will only be sold as an electric vehicle with a 199-mile range
Powering the new electric car is a 42kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
In official tests, it can be driven for 199 miles between charges. This figure is likely to be less in the real world, though is still commendable given the 500’s dinky dimensions and limited battery space.
It also means the plug-in Fiat has a significantly better range than two of its nearest rivals, the Mini Electric and Honda e.
The Mini can be driven for 145 miles between charges while the Honda is good for just 137 miles, giving the 500 EV a healthy advantage over both.
However, it can’t quite match the rangiest of Renault Zoes, which can go for 239 miles on a single charge.
How it compares: The Mini Electric (left) has a range of 145 miles while the Honda e (right) has a range of 137 miles
The rangiest of Renault Zoe electric cars can cover 239 miles between charges
The Fiat uses a single electric motor generating 117bhp which is sent to the front wheels to deliver respectable performance.
Accelerating to 62mph takes nine seconds and the top speed is limited to 93mph. At speeds that high, expect the battery power to deplete at a far more alarming rate.
Fiat has equipped the car with an 85kW DC charger, which means a flat battery can be boosted to 80 per cent capacity in around 35 minutes if you find a suitable fast charger.
Plug it into the mains at home and a full charge takes a little over six hours.
At launch buyers will only be able to get the highest specification cabriolet, which will cost from £29,000
Interior space has been increased with the dimensions of the car being 6cm longer and 6cm wider
The retro styling has been retained, with oval lamps, rounded features and small dimensions
In order to facilitate the batteries, the 500’s compact dimensions have bulged a little.
It’s 6cm wider and 6cm longer than the previous generation model on sale since 2007. The wheelbase (distance between front wheel and back wheels) has also extended by 2cm to allow for the electric drivetrain.
There’s no information yet on the boot capacity.
It’s still unmistakable a 500, retaining the modern-era car’s cute looks – with the addition of the number 500 in the grille – on a slightly larger canvas.
Fiat has equipped it with three different driving modes: Normal, Range and ‘Sherpa’.
While Range increases the brake regeneration to top up the battery on the move, Sherpa puts the electric car into its most energy-saving mode, restricting the top speed to 50mph, deactivates the air con and heated seats and reduces the acceleration power.
In order to facilitate the batteries, the 500’s compact dimensions have bulged a little
Accelerating to 62mph takes nine seconds and the top speed is limited to 93mph
The electric Fiat 500’s 42kWh lithium-ion battery pack can be fast charged from empty to 80% capacity in around 35 minutes
When it does hit the market later in 2021, it will first arrive only as a cabriolet and in the most expensive ‘La Prima’ trim level.
Fiat has announced the price as £29,000 inclusive of the plug-in car grant.
However, the government subsidy is due to run out at the end of March and there has been no mention of an extension. An update is expected in next week’s Budget.
As a result, this could push the price up to £32,500 without the grant.
Not only would that make it £1,400 more expensive than the range-topping Mini Electric and £4,000 more than the Honda e and Renault Zoe, it’s also well over twice the price of petrol model currently on sale.
Its petrol versions will still be sold alongside the third-generation electric car though won’t be moved across to the new platform.
Less expensive variants of the electric 500 are due to follow – including a standard hatchback – though no information or price details have yet been announced.
Fiat has announced the price as £29,000 inclusive of the plug-in car grant. However, the government subsidy is due to run out at the end of March
A range of interior options will be available, including different dashboard insets and finishes
Is £29,000 too much for a small electric car? It’s more than twice the price of the cheapest petrol 500 on sale now
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