Car Reviews Motoring

The All-Electric New Fiat 500

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

The all-electric New 500 – the first fully electric car from Fiat – is only the third generation of the famous city car that made its debut 64 years ago.

The New 500 takes inspiration from the generations before it, with the first ‘nuova 500’ offering freedom and mobility, establishing itself as an icon in the process.

Revived in 2007, the second iteration introduced style and charm to the iconic city car that went on to conquer the world. The new incarnation becomes more sustainable, connected and autonomous, adhering to increasingly stringent regulations and using the popularity of its nomenclature to inspire change.

The Fiat takes design cues from the two previous generations of 500, with the team at Mirafiori’s Centro Stile looking back at designs of Nuova 500 in particular for inspiration. Integrating the classic style of the 500, rooted in 64 years of history, the New 500 is still an iconic city car with the same stylistic proportions and clean design.

Interior

Inside, the 500 is completely new, with clear references to the first generation. The Fiat Centro Stile team has furnished the interior by distributing the bulk efficiently to achieve aesthetically pleasing simplicity, and provide visual clarity. This is exemplified by the wide dashboard and the modular storage solutions between the two front seats where the gear lever was originally located.

Compared with the current hybrid version, there is more leg and shoulder space for everyone. The flat floor houses the lithium ion battery without compromising the boot capacity, which remains unchanged at 185-litres for the hatchback and 182-litres for the convertible. The result is a well thought out and cleaner interior, with fewer buttons and crisp, harmonious lines.

Range and Charging

The electric motor has an output of 87kW (118hp). The top speed is limited to 93mph (where legal) and zero to 62mph takes 9.0 seconds and zero to 31mph in 3.1 seconds.

Range and charging times are two key considerations for anyone buying or leasing an electric vehicle. Available on Passion, Icon and La Prima trims, the lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 42kWh gives the New 500 a combined range of up to 199 miles.

To optimise charging time, the New 500 is equipped with an 85kW fast charge system. It takes only five minutes to build up a sufficient energy reserve to travel 30 miles, more than the average daily commute. Using a fast charger can also power the battery to 80 per cent in just 30 minutes. The Combo 2 socket, located on the rear right side panel of the car, has the ability to accept both AC and DC charging. Available on the entry-level Action trim, a 24kWh lithium-ion battery provides the New 500 with a combined range of up to 118 miles.

Home charging solutions are also available. A home charging system can simply be connected to a normal home outlet. This simple, accessible ‘plug-and-charge’ solution can be managed easily via Bluetooth to stabilise energy load by charging a 500 at home with up to 3kW of charging power, without the need for professional installation. The Easy Wallbox can be upgraded to 7.4kW, providing a full charge at home in just over six hours. The New 500 is also available with a Mode 3 cable for charging at up to 11kW from a public charge point.

EV Driving Modes

The New 500 gives you a choice of how you drive the electric car, thanks to the inclusion of three driving modes, which can be selected to match your driving style. In ‘Normal’ mode, the New 500 drives like any car with an automatic transmission and an internal combustion engine.

In Range mode, the New 500 offers the option of a new driving experience, using just the accelerator. This ‘one-pedal’ function means acceleration and deceleration can be controlled by the same pedal. When lifting off the accelerator, the car recovers energy to the maximum, making it slow down including coming to a complete stop. This driving style, ideal for urban use, means the Fiat 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. The ‘Sherpa’ driving setting works on several components to ensure either the destination set on the navigation system or the nearest charging station is reached while the New 500 still has enough charge.

Safety

During the creation of the New 500, engineers and designers considered every aspect of its possible interaction with the road, starting with safety. The car therefore includes numerous Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) as standard, including: Attention Assist, Lane Control, Traffic Sign Recognition and Autonomous Emergency Braking. This technology make the small Fiat easier, safer and simpler to drive.

Perfect for the school run, then, or what? For more information on the all new, pure electric Fiat 500 click here.

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