New FIAT 500e: electric city car inside and out in new shots

Fiat 500e new spies The new-generation all-electric 500 hits the road again in prototype form, with spy photographers catching an overhaul of the car's cabin for the first time

Fiat's new, all-electric car is the Fiat 500. The car has been caught testing again ahead of its anticipated 2020 Geneva Motor Show debut.

The new prototypes are obviously based on the previous model without revealing much about the new look of the car. However, they offer a glimpse of some kind of interior of the car.

We can see that Rival's mini electric dashboard has been completely redesigned, with new instruments and a large central infotainment screen visible. The new rotary gear selector also features mounted on a plinth below the center console and surrounded by buttons.

Earlier this year, Fiat said it would invest 700 million euros in an electric city car, including a new production line in Mirafiori, Italy. Fiat hopes to produce 80,000 examples of the new 500e.

The car will be sold alongside the existing 500, which will continue to be powered by conventional petrol engines, as well as receiving styling and technical upgrades.

The new electric 500 will sit on a bespoke electric vehicle platform, by Fiat boss Olivier François, with the same platform potentially intended to be used in the event that new Panda style centoventi concept makes production. The electric 500 will be a key part of transforming Fiat in Europe into a brand focused on small, electrified city cars.

“The car will stay true to everything you know about the 500, but will be brand new,” Francois said. “Under the skin, it will be drastically different, but otherwise you may be recognized by the size and proportions.

“But it's a big statement starting our electric journey with the 500. We're doing it with this machine for pricing reasons. It's clear that we can't sell an electric 500 for the same entry price of 500 today, but what's clear is that more than half of today's 500 customers don't buy entry-level models. In fact, for them 24,000 euros is the normal price today.

Do not miss:  Rolling start: Nissan dons kimono, rising star Nyck de Vries and more

“If you look at our electric competition, they are priced at around 32 euros. The jump then from 000 to 24000 is not that much, especially when you consider government subsidies for electric vehicles.

François refused to be asked whether the electric 500 could be rear-wheel drive like the original, but he said he would be open to the idea. He also said that the electric Abarth model could hold its own.

The electric vehicle platform that the 500s will sit on the terms of the FCA Group has developed. François said he is personally open to technology sharing with partners — the 500 platform has already been shared with Ford Ka, for example — but he stressed that any such decision must be made at the group level.

Fiat also confirmed the 500 lineup would be expanded from the 500 probation property, though the firm didn't say if that version would also appear next year at the Geneva Motor Show.

The goal is to cement the brand's dominance in the city car segment - the 500 and Panda occupy a third of that market - while developing technologies that allow these models to meet emission regulations.

The 500 trainee, which references the tiny 1960 wagon, offers the best space efficiency in its class, says Fiat, and has a "unique design." It will also get electric and mild hybrid options.

The new architecture 500 platform will also be able to handle moderate hybrid systems. That unit consists of a belt-driven, 12V starter-alternator, although a small change was provided on the electric transmission to be used in the 500. Low-emission petrol engines will also be offered in the 500 and Panda.

François acknowledged that the decision to develop electric vehicles was driven "both by the desire to create a profitable electric car for our future, and to avoid the pressure of potential penalties if we don't hit CO2 emissions."

Do not miss:  When is a Volkswagen injection pump overhaul needed?

Given limited battery space and a 500 city appeal, the 500e's range is likely to be shorter than electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, which offers about 250 miles.

The 500s will have a growing number of small EMU competitors – the first examples of the first mass-produced electric car, which was revealed earlier this year, should arrive with customers in early 2020, with the Honda E in the middle of the year.

On the 500s, this 'city car' base will be one of four electric powertrains offered under FCA terms; while 'mainstream' powertrains will be launched in the Jeep Grand Commander, 'performance' powertrains will be featured in the Maserati Alfieri, which is tipped for the 2020 Geneva Motor Show debut, and a 'premium' EV powertrain in 2022 on the Maserati Quattroporte.

The push for electrification comes amid Chrysler's Fiat abandonment of Diesel; by 2022, there will be no diesel options in the ZDK catalogue. They will be replaced by numerous hybrids, both full and plug-in, the first of which will be the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, landing in 2020.

The production capacity released by the removal of the Punto and other similar Fiat models - such as the Tipo - will be used to build more Alfa Romeos and Maseratis, whose high prices can sustain the cost of electrification. Some Italian capacity will be used to build some hybrid models, including some Jeeps for global sale.

Additional reporting by Jim Holder and Richard Bremner


Mini electric: the first photos of the "swiveling" zero-emission model 2019

Honda urban EV redemptions in 2019 with minor changes

Fiat to abandon production of its mass-market cars in Italy

Please rate the article
Translate »