One of our favourite cars, the Fiat 500 is now available as a fully electric model
We love a supermini here at The British Motor Show and none more than the Fiat 500. It’s compact size and funky styling is perfect for city driving and now that an all electric model has been released, it’s even better suited to town driving.
From just £19,995 the car is certainly well priced for a BEV, the city car will arrive in UK dealers in early 2021 in both hatchback and cabrio bodystyles. With two battery options and a claim to the best range of any electric city car available.
Fiat first democratised mobility in the late 1950s with the Nuova 500 – providing affordable personal transport across Europe and beyond. Fifty years later, Fiat introduced the current 500 – the bestselling city car in Europe. 2020 signals the arrival of the new 500, the first fully-electric vehicle from FCA, which promises a raft of best-in-class features such as range, autonomous driving and variety of battery options.
The new 500 range is made up of three trim levels – Action, Passion and Icon. According to Fiat, each provides a level of standard specification to suit different lifestyles.
The entry-level ACTION is fitted with a 70kW motor, accelerating from zero to 62mph in 9.5 seconds and with a limited top speed of 84mph.
The ACTION includes a lithium-ion battery with a 23.8kWh capacity, offering a range of more than 115 miles in the WLTP cycle, or over 150 miles in the city.
The ACTION is equipped with a 50kW fast charging system, so charging the battery to ensure enough mileage for a 30 mile commute takes less than 10 minutes. A 3kW cable is also included for charging at home or at work. The Combo 2 socket, located on the rear right side panel of the car, powers fast charging in both AC and DC. For charging at home or in public, a three-phase 11kW Mode 3 cable is available to purchase, along with a Wallbox by Mopar.
Numerous ADAS features are standard including Drowsy Driver Detection, to monitor driver concentration levels; Autonomous Emergency Braking, which along with other vehicles can also recognise cyclists and pedestrians; Lane Keep Assist, a system that alerts the driver to get back in lane when it detects any drifting; and Traffic Sign Recognition, which reads road signs and recommends the correct speed to drive at.
As standard, the 500 ACTION is equipped with an e-Mode selector to choose between three driving modes – Normal, Range and Sherpa, to select according to preferred driving style and requirements.
The 500 offers ‘smart audio’, turning any smartphone into its infotainment system. It consists of a smartphone cradle, an ergonomic base to mount your smartphone either vertically or horizontally, a Bluetooth connection to link a smartphone to the speakers in the New 500 and a specific app to use inside and out of the car.
As for the exterior, the 500 receives halogen headlights and 15-inch wheels. Inside, the entry-level version is packed with technology: from the auto-start button (Keyless Go), rear parking sensors and electric parking brake to the configurable 7-inch digital TFT colour screen in front of the driver – taking the place of a conventional instrument panel in the New 500, on which the driver can see all the most important data for the car, including range and charging status. The interior trim features a black dashboard, while the seats – in Seaqual yarn – include a geometric chevron motif and silver-coloured stitching.
The mid-range version of the 500, the PASSION is available with the 42kWh battery, providing a best-in-class range of up to 199 miles in the WLTP cycle, increasing to 285 miles when only driven in the city. It features 85kW fast charging, so recharging the battery to 80% range takes 35 minutes, or to 30 miles takes around 5 minutes.
In addition to the equipment on ACTION, cruise control and climate control are also standard with the PASSION.
The 118hp motor has an output of 87kW, providing a maximum speed limited to 93mph and acceleration from zero to 62mph in 9.0 seconds and zero to 31mph in 3.1 seconds.
The ICON receives the same 42kWh battery as the PASSION trim level with a range of 199 miles in the WLTP cycle and rapid recharging with its DC fast charging system, running at up to 85kW.
The latest infotainment system, a connected platform created by FCA for the future, is available with a 7-inch screen in the PASSION version and 10.25-inch in the ICON, a custom interface can be created and it uses an advanced voice recognition system, activated hands-free with the phrase ‘Hey Fiat’. Connectivity features are enabled by the new UConnect Box, offering access to the New 500’s UConnect Services, one example of which can transform the car into a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect up to eight devices at the same time.
These connectivity services are usually reserved for higher segments, but for the first time Fiat makes them accessible on a city car, with features developed specifically for electric cars. The Fiat mobile app in connection with UConnect allows for a raft of features never before seen on a city car. For example, ‘Dynamic Range Mapping’, shows on the map the area that can be driven, calculating the maximum possible distance based on remaining range and other parameters. Not only does the app allow viewing of the charging points located nearby, it also displays a graphic indication on the map of those that can be reached based on your current battery charge level.
The ‘My Car’ service can check the battery charge level remotely from the app. ‘My Remote’ enables customers to schedule vehicle charging for the most convenient time slots; locate the nearest public charging stations and pay directly from their smartphone providing access to a network of 200,000 charging points throughout Europe; find the car’s exact location; lock and unlock the doors; turn the lights on and off; and program the air conditioning system. The systems of the New 500 can be continuously developed and updated over-the-air.
The 500 includes numerous Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)as standard, including Attention Assist, Lane Control, Traffic Sign Recognition and Autonomous Emergency Braking making it easier, safer and simpler to drive, as well as being the first car in its segment equipped with level 2 autonomy.
EV mode selector
The New 500 gives the driver a choice on how they drive their electric car thanks to the inclusion of three driving modes, which can be selected to match their driving style.
In ‘Normal’ mode, the car drives like any automatic transmission with an internal combustion engine, if with surprisingly exceptional performance for a city car: output of 87kW – equivalent to 118hp, 220Nm of instantly-available torque, and acceleration from zero to 31mph in 3.1 seconds, or zero to 62mph in 9 seconds.
In Range mode, the 500 offers the option of a new driving experience, using only one foot. The ‘one-pedal’ function means acceleration and deceleration can be controlled by the same pedal. When the pedal is not pressed, the car recovers energy to the maximum, making it slow down until it comes to a complete stop. This driving style, ideal for urban use, means the car can recover a great deal of its energy.
When the remaining range is low, ‘Sherpa’ mode can be engaged to optimise the available resources to ensure the destination is reached. ‘Sherpa’ driving mode works on several components to ensure either the destination set on the navigation system or the nearest charging station is reached whilst the New 500 still has enough charge.
The New 500 will be available to order in December and is priced from £19,995.
Pricing and technical specifications
|Battery capacity||Motor output||Max power||Acceleration |
|Top Speed||Range |
|24kWh||70kW||93hp||9.5 seconds||84mph||115 miles|
|42kWh||87kW||118hp||9 seconds||93mph||186-199 miles|
|New 500 hatchback||Basic Price||OTR||OTR inc. PiCG*|