Fiat 500 EV Quick: Could This Small Car Come Back (Again). Fiat 500 electric scooter

Fiat 500 EV Quick Drive: Could This Small Car Come Back (Again)?

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Stellantis is still figuring out how to make the Fiat brand rebound in the U.S., where CEO Carlos Tavares is convinced the Italian small car brand has a future. He thinks there are customers in North America who want a small car as a second or third vehicle, especially in areas like California.

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The 500X is the only model Fiat sells here anymore, having discontinued other models after the 2019 model year after they failed to resonate in the market. But a wider portfolio continues to sell in Europe, including the all-new, third-generation 500, designed from the ground up as an EV introduced alongside the old second-generation 500 two years ago. Fiat and Abarth will be electric only by 2027 in Europe and some of those new EVs will eventually make their way to our side of the ocean.

So, we took advantage of an opportunity to jump in the electric Fiat 500 we don’t get here in America while in Amsterdam for the release of Stellantis’ nine-year strategic plan called Dare Forward 2030 for a peek at the car and its place in Fiat’s future.

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Driving a European Spicy Red Fiat 500

The 500 we hopped into was a spicy red number with a removable cloth top. It clearly is a descendent of the original Cinquecento and cute as a button.

Inside was a lacquered red dash with seriously cool cloth seats, and not just because of the Fiat pattern or the red piping and badging. It was a special edition (Red) model where only the driver’s seat was red, the rest of the seats were black. So Italian chic. We didn’t even mind the heavy use of black plastic in the relatively spartan interior. It made the 500 in red in the center of the steering wheel pop.

The Fiat 500 may be small, but it offers tons of head room making the front seats a great place to be—the small back seats not so much.

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It’s been a while since we drove the old Fiat 500e, which debuted in the U.S. for the 2013 model year with a range too limited for the American market. It had a 24-kWh battery onboard, and an EPA-rated range of about 84 miles. (The old 500e was a so-called compliance car, built solely to suit regional regulations; such low-range, cheap EVs have largely been superseded in the past decade by similarly affordable options with more power, range, and size.) Contrast that with this new third-generation 500 that has a 62-kWh battery pack and gets about 198 miles of range on the more generous WLTP testing cycle.

Even with a gasoline engine, early second-gen 500s were not powerful. They had a tiny 1.4-liter engine that pushed out a meager 101 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque. In our testing, it took 9.7 seconds to go 0-60 mph and the quarter mile required a somewhat leisurely 17.2 seconds at 78.5 mph. Being lightweight and nimble, the old 500 was most fun in tight corners or on, say, a go-kart track (or MotorTrend’s figure eight testing course). For the 2019 model year the car was upgraded with a 135-HP, 150 lb-ft turbocharged version of the 1.4-liter engine, and there were saucier Abarth performance models, too.

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Punchy and Fun

The new, all-electric Fiat 500 that Europeans are snapping up has good punch off the line and ample power for a short drive around the streets of Amsterdam courtesy of an 87-kW motor that makes about 118 horsepower, which improves the zero-to-60-mph scoot to about 9 seconds.

The one-pedal driving worked flawlessly—remove your foot from the accelerator pedal and the car quickly comes to a stop with no need to touch the brake pedal.

The latest 500 is even more fun to drive with its light weight and instant torque. Being small, it feels connected to the road, and has the reflexes of a go-kart. Our test car’s navigation system was a bit wonky, and we got lost—which gave us double the trip time. The little car can turn around easily, handy for narrow European streets.

Our little spin erased any old memories of cute but ragged and underpowered rides in a 500. If the new 500 is any indication of the kind of Fiats headed stateside in the future, we have more hope for the brand. Tavares has given each of the 14 brands under the Stellantis umbrella 10 years of funding for core models to prove themselves.

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Driving the Quirky 2021 Citroen Ami

If we had any doubts about the competitiveness of the Fiat 500, they were quickly put aside after our subsequent ride in a 2021 Citroen Ami, which is essentially an electric quadricycle. Don’t get us wrong, the Ami is adorable to look at with its big front window and single wiper, glass roof that extends in front of the driver and connects to a flimsy hardtop, and long side window that does not roll down. From the outside, push a button at the front to open the rear-hinged driver’s door—the passenger door is hinged from the front which enabled Citroen to use identical doors. To open the doors from inside, pull an orange nylon strap.

In front of the driver is a small screen that shows which gear you are in (easy to make a mistake with the gearshift buttons in a pod on the side of the driver’s seat near the floor), speed, and charge level. The navigation system: a holder for your phone. The plastic dash has cupholders, but they are so far in front of the driver and passenger, they are hard to reach.

But it is not a real car and does not pretend to be. The Ami has an 8-HP motor and a top speed of 28 mph, making it a 1,000-pound scooter for two with protection from the elements and more stability. It takes off like a golf cart, has about 43 miles of range, and stops on a dime. The car is loud and jerky, the ride bumpy and almost uncomfortable, with little help from the thin leatherette cushions on the two molded-in plastic seats. Want quirky? The Ami scores top marks. Want something small, stylish, electric, and (hopefully) affordable? The new 500 would make a compelling option even here in America.

Fiat 500e Open electric review

It’s been some 65 years since Fiat first debuted the legendary original nuova 500. From the late 1950s through the 1960s, it was a city car that delivered accessible driving to the masses with loads of practicality and a special design flair that only the Italians could offer. It was tiny, affordable, cleverly made ,and more than anything, it was groundbreaking in its conceptualisation.

In 2007, the 50th anniversary 500 was launched, boasting a delicious mix of retro nods to the original model but with a dash of modern design nuances to give it a 21st century flavour. And in 2017, Fiat celebrated in 60th anniversary with an update and an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This design icon has sold over 6 million units since it first appeared in 1957, and now it’s going electric.

The 500e is the cutest EV on sale today

In the early 2020s, if the Audi e-tron GT is commonly referred to as the best looking electric car on the planet today, then the Fiat 500e, the brand’s first-ever pure battery-powered car, must be the cutest EV on sale right now.

And that’s saying a lot. Why? Because over the last year, the market has literally been flooded with new EVs. So the Fiat has a lot of competition. Over the last 2 years, for example, we’ve seen the Ford Mustang Mach-E, BMW iX and i4, Mercedes Benz EQA, EQB and EQS, Audi e-tron GT, Honda e, Mazda MX-30, Toyota bZ4X, Subaru Solterra, Nissan Ariya, Lexus RZ, Ford F-150 Lightning, Volvo C40 Recharge, Porsche Taycan, Polestar 3, Volkswagen ID.4, Peugeot 208 and 2008, Citroen E-C4 and Hyundai Ioniq 5. Even the upcoming Lucid Air, Rivian R1T and Fisker Ocean have some innovative design traits, but nothing can come close to the 500e for cuteness.

Now the car you see here might look like the Fiat 500 that’s been around for a few years, but this one is no mere facelift. It’s an all-new car and it’s only available with an electric powertrain. The key differences in the design department are that the new EV version does not have a conventional grille, but a thick wide bumper with a larger ‘500’ logo and a small vent to cool the batteries. The headlight design has been split in two, with the main LED headlight looking like an eye on each side of the front bumper while the daytime running light, which has the effect of an ‘eyebrow’ situated above the eye, sits on the edge of the hood. A separate daytime running light located below the headlight, sort of looks like some blusher on its cheeks. Very chic.

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The retractable roof offers a unique convertible experience

The new 500e is 3 inches longer, 1.5 inches taller and 3 inches wider than its predecessor, giving it slightly more road presence. But what really sets this ‘Open’ spec off is its power-operated roof. When you push the roof switch on the dashboard, the vinyl roof section retracts automatically all the way to half way down the rear window, giving a unique convertible experience. It’s not a convertible, and it’s not a targa top is the conventional sense. Instead, think of the roof portion folding back and disappearing into the upper trunk. For my money, this ‘Open’ spec model offers the highest fun factor of the new 500e lineup by a country mile. Whether closed or open, this chic topless version made me want to drive the car with its top down more than just about any convertible I’ve ever driven.

All models, however, get a stylish chrome strip down the side, a chrome badge and chrome surrounds the Windows. Although 15-inches is offered on the base grade, our flagship model wore 17-inch wheels and looked better for it. Meanwhile, at the rear, the 500e has a new LED tail light design and I like the way designers have added a strategic ‘500’ logo that hides inside the brake light assembly and a sporty roof spoiler, which is really just for show, having no real aerodynamic qualities. The rear bumper is substantial in size, making the car look a little bigger than it is from the rear. And obviously, you won’t find an exhaust pipe because it’s an EV.

Designers went to town inside the car

But it’s on the inside where the 500’s had a real overhaul, with an all-new infotainment system and a big style upgrade with nods to its Turin plant on the center console and door cards. Designers really went to town in here and you can see it. The large 10.25-inch touch-screened infotainment system is a real surprise because it looks good, is easy to use, has excellent graphics and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. As for tech, it doesn’t disappoint. Even the mid-range Passion models get a rear view parking camera, lane assist, blind spot warning and adaptive cruise control.

Basically everything in here is either chic or cute with a unique Italian flair. Boasting a two spoke design the steering wheel offers tilt and telescopic functions, with manually operates seat adjusters to find your ideal driving position. The dashboard is totally redesigned and offers a choice of coverings including a synthetic ‘techno-wood’ selection.

Our test car was the luxury ‘Open’ spec model with cream-colored leather seats, a combination that makes it feels light and airy. At least it does up front as you get loads of head and legroom. The back seats, however, are cramped and really only for ankle-biters. The boot, too is small, though the 185 litre volume is still greater than a Honda e, which just happens to be one of its main rivals in this class. I also like the way designers retained plenty of physical buttons, like the air-conditioning and drive mode switches— including ones which open the door, strangely. This is in direct contrast to every digitally oriented Honda e with its full dashboard-width TV screens.

The 500e will come up against a growing number of small electric rivals, including the Honda e, Mini Electric, Smart EQ Fortwo, Peugeot e-208, and the Renault Zoe. To help it compete, the 500e is available with a relatively long official range of up to 199 miles, but in the real world, expect that to drop to around 160 miles depending on traffic conditions, weather conditions and, of course, the way you drive. Yes, you will have to study a new driving style to get good range. When it’s cold or very hot, your battery life will suffer more than when the temperature is mild. And the range is also very dependent on how much air-conditioner you use.

Its 42kWh battery generates up to 199 miles of range

In top-spec ‘Icon’ or ‘Open’ trim, the 500 electric hatchback looks like a winner on paper. With the larger 42kWh battery, you can achieve a WLTP-rated 199 miles on a single charge and thanks to 85kW charging capability, the carmaker claims this 500 electric can recharge using a 50kWh quick charger from 0 to 80 percent in 35 minutes. So, what makes this range possible? The gutsier battery of course. While a smaller 24kWh 115-mile base grade is available, our top-spec Open test model gets the 42kWh battery and a 117-HP motor with 220Nm of torque that generates perky acceleration and jumps from zero to 60 mph in under 8.0 seconds. Throttle response is instant so it feels quicker than it is.

The very huggable 500 is built essentially for town use, so it has a tight turning circle and is a treat to navigate narrow streets or dart away from traffic lights. With its centre of gravity located deep down in the chassis, thanks to the low mounted battery pack and electric motor, the car resists the urge to lean in the corners while boasting plenty of grip.

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On the move, the new 500’s light steering and small wheelbase make for an excellent city car. While it’s light and easily maneuverable in town, the light steering settles down at higher speeds with more feedback. As you’d expect from an electric car, there’s instantaneous torque available too – and with 220Nm, there’s plenty of it.

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Drivers need to get used to the three drive modes

To help drivers perfect their electric car driving skills and generate the longest possible range, Fiat has fitted three drive modes: Range, Sherpa and Normal. Fairly aggressive brake-regeneration means one-pedal driving is an option in ‘Range’ mode, although flip it into ‘Normal’ and the 500 coasts a bit further – probably the most familiar option for recent converts to pure-electric driving. Properly regulate the throttle pedal and the car will come to a complete stop. But it much be said that one-pedal driving does take some getting used to, and may not be for everyone. Why? Because you have to change your style of driving completely by just using the foot-on acceleration and foot-off deceleration functions of the throttle.

In ‘Sherpa’ (which originates from the Nepalese mountain guides who boast expert mountaineering skills) mode, the car extracts as much battery range as possible and limits top speed to 50mph. Unfortunately, you can only switch modes when completely stopped, which we found awkward.

With the extra weight of the battery and sitting on optional 17-inch wheels, the ride is a little choppy at low speeds with potholes, expansive joints and bumps sometimes upsetting the otherwise decent refinement. However, at highway speeds the ride does settle down further, giving the 500 an ability to soak up longer journeys. However, as expected, the fabric-roofed ‘Open’ version has its good side and its ‘could-be-better’ side. First, the good side is that when in open roof mode, the wind is not as intrusive as other convertibles and targa tops, thanks in part to an ‘air cap’ at the top of the windscreen which diverts airs over occupants’ heads. What could be lessened however, is the wind and road noise penetrating the car when its roof is closed.

Even though the 500e has a few foibles and will take some getting used to, is is a blast to drive. It’s gutsy enough to enjoy on any road, and it’s small enough to park anywhere which means you will save time parking it. In a way, it’s kind of like a cute, perfectly groomed pedigree poodle that draws people towards it, wanting to pet it. In the same way, the tiny Fiat has the ability to draw people in, wanting to ask what it is. They think it’s a 500, but because of the new headlights, grille revision, wheels and other strategic updates, they were not sure. Either way, when several ladies heard that the 500e is purely electric and had a retractable roof, they let out the same ‘awww’ they’d saw when petting that cute poodle!

and Options

for the base grade entry-level model with a 115-mile 24kWh battery, start at around £14,000. But we’d highly recommend the 42kWh model with up to 199-miles of range as the more usable alternative for around £30,000. The car comes in a selection of body colors which can add between £450 to £1700 to the cost. They include Ice White, Onyx Black, Red by Red, Mineral Grey, Glacier Blue (£600), Rose Gold (£600), and Ocean Green and Celestial Blue for £1700.

Over the last year, the 500e has come up against a growing number of small electric rivals including the Honda e, Mini Electric, Smart EQ Fortwo, Peugeot e-208 and the Renault Zoe, to name a few. While all of these competitors offer some great packaging, handling and charging protocols, in terms of cuteness, chicness and drivability, we’d have to lean towards either the 500e as offering the best, and most entertaining package of the bunch. The only down side, apart from its barely acceptable real world range, would have to be the cost starting from around 4.85 million yen in Japan, or £30,132 in the U.K. But is you’re looking for a second car, or a city runabout and you want to switch to electric, this 500e in my book at least, is the most satisfying choice out there.

The 500 Iride electric scooter fits in your Fiat 500e’s trunk

Stellantis owned Mopar, which prior to the electrification era of automobiles, was in the business of making customizations and accessories for the FCA Group companies, has launched the 500 Iride electric scooter inspired by the new Fiat 500 electric car.

Mopar claims that the 500 Iride is the perfect solution for urban and CO2-free electric mobility and makes every journey fun!

0 Iride Design

Designed by Fiat Centro Stile in conjunction with Compagnia Ducale (one of Stellantis Group’s licensee partners, with whom the company has already developed customized products for Fiat, Lancia, Abarth and Alfa Romeo brands), the 500 Iride is aimed at zero-emissions urban mobility.

The 500 Iride (Iris in English) with its circular light is inspired by the new Fiat 500 and the rainbow (according to Stellantis, it draws inspiration from the expression in colours). Three colours will be available at launch – Celestial Blue, Cloud Gray and Red.

0 Iride Technical Specifications

The electric scooter will have a range of up to 30 km (18.6 miles) with a top speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) thanks to a 250W motor and a battery that buyers can recharge in 4.5 hours. Other features include 10-inch tires, a rear shock absorber, built-in display, telescopic handlebar, and an easy-folding system with a specific bag to fit in the boot of any car, but specifically the new 500.

The 500 Iride weighs 15 kg. It comes with an optional 12V charger which can then charge the scooter from the new 500 itself, using only 1 per cent of the car’s battery. Alternatively, the Iride can be charged through a domestic socket too.

Through an app available on iOS and Google Play Store, users can control various features of the Iride. Apart from checking the battery status/range and setting the cruise control, there are four driving modes – Normal, Sherpa (minimized energy consumption), Sport and pedestrian mode (which limits the speed to 6 km/h). The app also lets the phone act as an electronic key and can allow the primary user to share the Iride with up to 4 people.

Price Availability

The 500 Iride is priced at 699 EUR (introductory price) and is available at all Fiat dealerships and Mopar stores.

Featured Image Courtesy – Stellantis/Mopar

The All-Electric Fiat 500 Hatchback: A Complete Guide For The UK

Fiat Automobile S.p.A. is a subsidiary the Netherlands based Stellantis N.V., which was formed by the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Italian/ American) and Groupe PSA (French). You may not be familiar with these names, but the automotive brands in the portfolio would be well known to most consumers. These include: Maserati, Opel, Peugeot, Jeep, Vauxhall, Alfa Romeo etc.

Fiat continues to remain the largest automotive manufacturer in Italy, but also has manufacturing locations globally, with Brazil as the largest international production site. Fiat Automobiles has been recognised in Europe for the lower emission footprint of its vehicles and has been ranked as the lowest level of CO2 emissions by vehicles sold in Europe. The all-electric NEW 500 is leading the transition for the Italian manufacturer to zero-emission electric driving.

Electric Cars: The Basics

For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we would recommend a read of the following articles:

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The All-Electric Fiat 500 Hatchback

The Fiat 500 electric car has its roots in the classic 1957 Fiat 500, a car that has been hugely successful and iconic (sold more than 2 million cars globally). The Fiat New 500 EV is bigger than the internal combustion engine (ICE) car: 6 cm in width and length, 22mm longer wheelbase. The EV is available as a hatchback and a convertible.

The pure electric car is well suited for those individuals and families living in towns and cities seeking an environmentally-friendly solution for daily commutes. Like the pure electric Honda e, the Fiat 500 EV is primarily positioned for urban driving, with the flexibility of ample electric range for longer motorway commutes.

The Fiat electric car is available in two EV battery sizes: 24 kWh and 42 kWh. The 24 kWh battery has a zero-emission electric range up to 118 miles, while the larger 42 kWh offers a range up to 199 miles (WLTP). Of course these will need to be adjusted for real-world driving conditions, but expect the 24 kWh to be able to deliver 100 miles and the 42 kWh to deliver 170 miles.

Either way, both variants have much to offer depending on the needs of the family. For those that drive mostly shorter distances for day-to-day commutes, the 24 kWh battery option is more suitable. Do keep in mind that the majority of individuals drive no more than 30 miles a day. This should not come as a surprise, given the short distances to cover for the local grocery store, school-run, work, high street etc.

For those that expect to drive longer distances on a regular basis, the 42 kWh option will prove more useful. Both variants benefit from DC charging capability. The 24 kWh variant can be charged up to 50 kW DC (0%-80%: 30 mins), while the 42 kWh can be charged up to 85 kW DC (0%-80%: 35 mins).

Both variants incorporate a 11 kW AC (3-phase) onboard charger. For those with access to three-phase charging at home or the workplace, the 24 kW battery can be full charged in 2 hours and 30 minutes, while the 42 kWh EV battery can be fully charged in 4 hours and 15 minutes. Do keep in mind that most homes in the UK are powered by a single-phase power supply (7.4 kW), resulting in longer charging times.

Though the Fiat pure electric car can be charged via a domestic 3-PIN socket, we at e-zoomed discourage the use of a domestic socket to charge an electric car. It would take up to 8 hours and 45 minutes to charge the 24 kWh EV battery and up to 15 hours and 15 minutes to charge the 42 kWh battery. We encourage charging an electric car using a dedicated EV home charging station like easee.

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The Fiat electric car does not disappoint in terms of its exterior iconic appeal and its interior is just as appealing. The electric hatchback includes a host of features: intelligent adaptive cruise control, urban blind spot, drone view (360° parking sensors), rear view parking camera, autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and speed advisor, attention assist, lane keep assist, emergency call and more. The EV also offers a 10.25″ infotainment display and compatibility with Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

In terms of practicality, for urban driving, its compact size and turning circle are certainly useful. However, the rear seats are a tight squeeze and the boot space limited to 185 L.

Despite the additional weight of the EV battery(294.3 kg), the front-wheel drive Fiat 500 e can achieve 0-62 mph in 9 seconds for the 42 kWh variant. The maximum power is up to 118 HP (220 Nm) and a 93 mph top speed. The 24 kWh variant is just a little slower: 0-62 mph in 9.5 seconds. You can lease the Fiat 500 electric via e-zoomed at fantastic prices.

PROS CONS
DC charging up to 85 kW Rear seats with limited headroom and legroom
Available in two EV battery sizes Not practical for a larger family
11 kW onboard charger as standard Small boot space (185 L)

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