Fiat 500 to be reborn with electric power only

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Words: Nile Bijoux
13 Mar 2019

A Fiat executive has spilt the beans on the new generation of Fiat 500, and it’s good news for electric fans.

FCA chief marketing officer, Olivier François, told overseas media that the recently revealed Concept Centoventi previewed an all-new production Fiat 500e, due next year.

The existing 500e was introduced to Europe in 2012. It offered just 160km of range and, despite reportedly offering decent driving dynamics, hasn’t been much of a sales hit.

It never made it here but then little did. At present Fiat is offering just the 124 Abarth, essentially a rejigged MX-5, as its solitary model.

Anyhow, the new 500e will apparently be “true to the spirit of the original 500,” which could mean a return to rear-wheel drive. That’d be easier to achieve with electric power - just stick a motor on the rear axle - and could help with packaging.

However, Fiat wants it to be premium-priced. That’s probably because the late Sergio Marchionne once admitted that that the company loses about $US10,000 on each 500e it makes. With battery prices falling it’s getting easier for carmakers to make be profitable building electric cars but $10k is a big gulf to bridge with a small car.

As to performance, Francois expressed interest in an electric Abarth 500 but remained non-committal. Hopefully, he convinces the powers-that-be to inject a little ludicrous into the Lilliputian hatch...

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