Fiat’s new 500 full-electric car will join the growing number of battery-powered minicars targeting customers in Europe’s cities seeking emissions-free mobility.
The three-door model, called the New 500, retains the retro styling of the current internal combustion engine 500, which was Europe’s second best-selling minicar last year after Fiat’s Panda.
Fiat defied fears over Italy’s coronavirus outbreak to showcase the New 500 on Wednesday, as it strives to catch up with rivals in low-emissions driving while heading into a merger with Peugeot maker PSA Group.
The New 500’s unveiling was initially planned for the now-canceled Geneva auto show. The presentation on Wednesday was held at an event in Milan, a rarity as large gatherings have been discouraged by authorities in most of northern Italy, which has seen Europe’s worst virus outbreak.
“We are here to show that FCA is close to Milan and to Italy,” Olivier Francois, head of the Fiat brand and Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s chief marketing officer, told a restricted audience of journalists, before a press conference at Milan’s design museum, where chairs were placed a meter apart to comply with local authority health requirements.
Fiat unveiled the New 500’s convertible version in Milan. The launch version will cost 37,900 euros ($42,700) in Italy, excluding government environmental incentives. That compares with a starting price of 16,000 euros for a gasoline-engine 500. The three-door hatchback will cost less will be unveiled on July 4.
“The 500 is not mass market, it’s not the cheapest car in its segment, and so it will continue to be,” Francois said.
The New 500 has 320-km (200-mile) range in Europe’s WLTP cycle, can rise to 400 km in the WLTP urban cycle, which is more favorable to electric vehicles, Fiat said. It is powered by an 87-kilowatt (116-hp) electric motor and a 42-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack.
The New 500 accelerates fast from a standing start, thanks to its electric drivetrain. It can accelerate from 0 to 50 kph in 3.1 seconds and from 0 to 100 kph in 9 seconds. Its top speed is limited to 150 kph.
An 85-kilowatt fast charger is supplied as standard. The 500 can be charged to add 50 km range in five minutes, more than is needed for average daily use, Fiat said. It an reach an 80 percent charge in 35 minutes. A full charge takes 6 hours using a 7.4-kW home wall box.