Yes, the electric powertrain is most probably the future, for both performance gains as well as environmental reasons. But let’s be honest here, a main reason why electric vehicles haven’t truly taken over yet is because they all just look really… uninspiring.
Fiat is looking to change that by injecting some soul into the electric vehicle scene with the introduction of the all-new 500e, the third-generation Fiat 500 that just happens to also be the Italian carmaker’s first fully-electric car.
Although still carrying the timeless Fiat 500 silhouette, the 500e is designed completely from the ground up, built on a new electric platform making it 6 cm wider and 6 cm longer, while the wheelbase has been extended by 2 cm.
Styling wise, the design team focused on cleaner lines and better proportions in relation to its chassis. Fiat says that this makes the 500e “spatially attractive”, giving a perception of increased stability and dimensional presence.
The front fascia has been completely reworked for a more modern and upright look; the headlights now separated by the bonnet line, while the Fiat logo in front has been replaced by the 500 logo. The rear of the car has been reshaped, featuring a more three-dimensional taillight design.
The interior has also been cleaned up, featuring a more modern and horizontal dashboard, dominated by a central freestanding 10.25-inch UConnect5 infotainment display. The instrument cluster has also been replaced by a seven-inch TFT display.
It’s not a fast EV by any means, but as a city-focused runabout, we’d say Fiat got the target absolutely right. Powered by a single electric motor generating 87 kW (117 hp), the Fiat 500e sips juice out of a 42 kWh battery for a range of up to 320 km on the WLTP scale.
Zero-to-hundred km/h takes nine seconds, onward to a limited top speed of 150 km/h – It’s probably not going to be anywhere near that figure regularly anyway.
Fiat thinks that charging time is a more important factor in a city runabout. the Fiat 500e comes with a 85 kW fast charger system, capable of giving you a 50 km range with just five minutes of charging time, and reaching 80% in just 35 minutes. At home, the Easy Wallbox charges the 500e fully in just over six hours.
There’s also three driving modes for different situations – Normal, Range, and a long-range mode affectionately called ‘Sherpa’. Inspired by the Himalayan Sherpas in charge of expeditions, the Sherpa mode in the 500e adjusts the maximum speed (to 80 km/h), accelerator response, and deactivation of the climate control system (can be activated manually by the driver), to ensure that the car reaches its destination. Cute.
The third-generation Fiat 500 will come with “level 2 autonomous driving“, a first in its segment according to Fiat. Other safety features include intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Centering, Autonomous Emergency Brake, Lane Control, and Automatic headlights.
If the “regular” Fiat 500e isn’t stylish enough for you, there’s also three one-off editions, thanks to iconic Italian brands – Giorgio Armani, Bvlgari, and Kartell. Talk about coming in with a bang.