There are lots of pretenders, but the Fiat 500 is still one of the ultimate city cars on sale today. With increasing air pollution restrictions, city cars need to be more than just small and nimble, they need to produce zero emissions. With this change, Fiat has finally revelled the Fiat 500 electric version.
Full pricing and specification of the 100% electric New 500 has been announced for the UK market. The city car will arrive in UK dealers in early 2021 in both hatchback and cabrio bodystyles. With two battery options and the longest range of any electric city car on sale today, the New 500 will be priced from £19,995 OTR (inclusive of PiCG*).
Fiat first democratised mobility in the late 1950s with the Nuova 500 – providing affordable personal transport across Europe and beyond. Fifty years later, Fiat reinvented the city car segment with the current 500 – the bestselling city car in Europe. 2020 signals the arrival of the New 500, the first fully-electric vehicle from FCA, and a city car that remains affordable and provides a raft of best-in-class features such as its range, autonomous driving and variety of battery options.
The New 500 range
The New 500 range is made up of three trim levels – Action, Passion and Icon. Each provides a high level of standard specification to suit different lifestyles.
New 500 ACTION
The entry-level New 500 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 New 500 ACTION includes a lithium-ion battery with a 23.8kWh capacity, resulting in a range of more than 115 miles in the WLTP cycle, or over 150 miles when only driving in the city. With the average commute under 30 miles per day, customers would only need to charge the New 500 around every four days.
The New 500 ACTION is equipped with a 50kW fast charging system, so charging the battery to ensure enough mileage for the average 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 with New 500 ACTION 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 New 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.
Where connectivity is concerned, the New 500 ACTION receives ‘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 ACTION 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 New 500 ACTION is available as hatchback only.
New 500 PASSION
The mid-range version of the New 500 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.
Externally, the PASSION stands out with 15-inch two-tone gloss finish wheels and LED daytime running lights. Inside, the New 500 PASSION debuts FCA’s new infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for connected services and a DAB radio. The new system also boasts the Natural Language interface system with advanced voice recognition. Talk to the car using the wake word “Hey Fiat”, to control its range and charging settings, program the air conditioning and choose favourite music.
In addition to the aforementioned equipment on New 500 Action, cruise control and climate control are also standard with New 500 PASSION.
There are two interior trims to choose from: dark with a black dashboard and seats in Seaqual yarn with chevron motif and silver-coloured stitching, or a brighter environment with a white dashboard and blue seats including the chevron motif.
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.
New 500 ICON
The New 500 ICON receives the same 42kWh battery as the PASSION trim level with best-in-class range of 199 miles in the WLTP cycle and rapid recharging with its DC fast charging system, running at up to 85kW.
ICON receives another best-in-segment feature – a new 10.25-inch ‘cinerama’ touchscreen display, with integrated GPS and the infotainment system. The landscape high-definition touchscreen fits perfectly into the car’s dashboard, having been designed to eliminate driver distractions.
Externally, the high-end version of New 500 stands out for its 16-inch alloy wheels, with a dark finish, while the interior of the New 500 ICON sets the benchmark for city cars to come with many first-in-segment features available as standard. Passive entry, enabling handsfree access to the New 500, has never been seen before on an A-segment city car and is standard on the New 500 ICON. An even more distinctive feature is the New 500 ICON’s black button-free ‘pebble’ – a smart wearable key that can be carried in a pocket or bag, which communicates with the car automatically unlocking the doors when the pebble is close to the car and locking them again with a simple tap on the door handle. The ‘pebble’ is made of a special bio-based polycarbonate.
Elegance and exclusivity have guided the Centro Stile designers in their selection of lighter, brighter soft shades for the interior trim. The 500 ICON dashboard is painted the same colour as the bodywork. A natural wood effect is also available on the dashboard and steering wheel made with a vegan material rather than leather.
The elegant fabric seats with Seaqual yarn and pinstripe motif can be chosen in a choice of dark grey, with the 500 logo and copper-coloured details, or a light grey version paired with blue flecks and silver 500 logo and details.
High-tech and connected
When designing the Group’s first electric car from the ground up, the FCA engineers created a new structure around the electric motor, integrating new control, safety and entertainment technologies. The result is a car that has the best dynamic performance in its class, agile and fun to drive, comfortable, quiet and always connected. Engineers looked to the ease of use of a smartphone, in order to bring the same concept to the automotive industry.
That was the starting point for the New 500’s technology 'ecosystem’, aimed at assisting customers in the various on-board and off-board ways they use a car, and at making it easy-to-use and intuitive. The goal was to transfer to the New 500 all the automation systems that make our life easier and more enjoyable: from a Wi-Fi hotspot to the Alexa voice assistant.
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 on the New 500 and it even 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 an A-segment 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 maps are always kept up to date, using over-the-air updates.
The ‘My Car’ service can check the battery charge level of New 500 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 New 500 moves up to level 2 autonomous driving
During the creation of New 500, engineers and designers considered every aspect of its possible interaction with the road, starting with safety. The New 500 therefore 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.
With an aim to humanise the technology, by implementing solutions tailor-made for the 500, engineers have enabled much more accurate risk level monitoring. This also means that the automatic warnings associated with these ADAS features are less intrusive.
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 New 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 technological and social ‘ecosystem’ of the New 500
Fiat has created a system of physical and digital services and solutions to make zero-emissions driving as easy as possible. From the easyWallbox – the plug-and-play home charging solution developed exclusively by ENGIE Eps, via the ‘My Easy Charge’ apps to be able to find a charging point anywhere in Europe, to a single card for charging and payment, valid throughout Europe at almost 200,000 charging stations.
For those who have concerns about switching to a fully electric car have at their fingertips Fiat GOe LIVE, a free app on iOS and Android platforms to simulate the use of a New 500. The simulation highlights the potential economic and environmental benefits of using the New 500 rather than the customer's current car. The app also provides useful information on the e-Mobility experience, can locate charging stations throughout Europe and enables online ordering for the New 500.
Finally, FCA has launched its Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) project, which uses electric car batteries as systems to distribute stored energy. In partnership with ENGIE Eps and Terna, a pilot system has recently been inaugurated at Mirafiori, destined to soon become the largest in the world, enabling bidirectional interaction between FCA’s fully-electric cars and the grid.
As well as recharging the cars, the project will use the batteries to provide grid stabilisation services. Once fully operational, it will be possible to connect 700 New 500 with the system powered by 12,000 solar panels on the roof of the plant, reducing CO2 emissions by over 2,100 tons.
Amarcord for New 500 AVAS
New 500’s Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS), is inspired by Italian creativity. To warn pedestrians and cyclists of its presence, at speeds of up to 12.5mph, the New 500 uses the tune composed by Nino Rota for Amarcord, a movie that symbolised Italian culture, just like the 500 does.
When designing the New 500, Centro Stile focused on the soul of the car, a product to be a statement of the Italian spirit. It is exactly that Italian creativity that marks out the style and design of the New 500, an electric car that is also beautiful.
The New 500 is the first electric car with a soul that embodies its entire lifespan, made up of 63 years of history and successes. This is first identified at the front of the car with the designers conceiving a highly modern facade to give it a powerful identity. Since its debut in 1957, it could be said that the ‘clean face’ of the 500 can be linked to an electric car’s, a true one-off in the automotive landscape. The silhouette also follows the play of references between the past and the future, with all three generations of the 500 defined by the same central line and the characteristic of their proportions. It is a silhouette that stands out and that was destined to be carried over to the 2020 model.
The 500 remains true to itself, yet is subject to renewal – the addition of the battery pack under the new floorpan offered up the opportunity to create a car with new dimensions, an evolution in line with its original proportions. The New 500 is a little wider, longer, the wheelbase is broader and even the wheels are larger, while the interior boasts a roomier passenger compartment.
The chassis layout is better proportioned, resulting in a perception of increased stability and dimensional presence.
Overall, the appearance of the New 500 conveys a more powerful and robust character, more compact and elegant, with clean and simple lines.
All its interior spaces have been redesigned to give passengers the feeling of sitting on a ‘romantic bench’. In the continuous interaction between past and future, many references are also made here to the forms used in the first 500 such as the slender and elegant dashboard; the minimalist buttons ordered like a piano keyboard; the now iconic circular instrument panel; and the steering wheel, which once again has two spokes.
In addition, the interior space available has been organised using various modular storage compartments, to meet passengers’ every need.
Compared to previous versions, the New 500 is decidedly more elegant and sophisticated, including in the choice of materials. With the 500 of the last decade attracting the worlds of interior design and fashion, interior designers of the New 500 have strengthened this tie by using more refined textiles with a pinstripe effect and mélange treatments. Meanwhile, they have also emphasised a link with nature and well-being by using warm and soft shades, with an element of innovation in materials used. The designers’ quest for eco-friendly and recyclable materials, which has taken shape in the application of vegan leather or Seaqual (a fibre derived from recycled plastic partly collected from the ocean) seats, chrome replacement paints and mats made of recycled fibres.
The New 500 dashboard has also received the same treatment from designers. As well as still being able to choose a bodycoloured dashboard, a style now synonymous with the 500, other materials are available inspired by natural elements such as wood, with innovative treatments including three-dimensional and graphic surface printing and weave work that recall true craftsmanship, all interpreted with contemporary 500 flair.
For the exterior colour palette, the hues of the New 500 are mostly iridescent, to emphasise the inspiration drawn from nature. Alongside the three colours launched with La Prima launch edition, six other paint options are available across the range: Earth Grey, Glacier Blue, Rose Gold, Cloud Grey, Ice White and Onyx Black.
New 500 3+1 unveiled
New 500 is now made up of three body styles, hatchback, cabriolet and now 3+1.
Centro Stile designers have been working on a smart solution with identical dimensions to the cabrio and hatchback versions, but with a small third door on the passenger side. Just like the first 500 in 1957, which featured doors hinged to the rear. The result is a new body, to add to the hatchback and cabrio, with unchanged dimensions and not a single centimetre added to the footprint. The only difference is a weight increase of only 30kg, with no effect on the car’s handling or range.
The third small door opens in the opposite direction, and given the lack of a centre panel in the door itself, means rear passengers can jump in more comfortably and load and unload large items more easily. With the 3+1, the 500 aims to remain alongside customers who have changed their habits and requirements, but not their taste.
The New 500 3+1 will firstly be made available for left-hand drive markets.
We're excited by this new Fiat 500 and think it would be perfect for any town or city, even if there are not congestion charges.Posted 23/10/2020 Back to Blog