Fiat 500 EV preview

Here's the preview to the 2020 Fiat 500 EV.

What's this?
The very familiar shape of the modern-era Fiat 500, only rendered as an electric vehicle (EV). The Fiat EV is the properly updated and latest generation of this 500, rather than a mild facelift, and it is expected to land in 2020 – with the possibility that no combustion engines will be offered for the city run-around. A number of manufacturers, most notably the Volkswagen Group and its VW up!, Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii trilogy, have rationalised that petrol-powered city cars are no longer profitable, so they’re all going electric. Fiat believes the 500 is the ideal car, given it’s one of the top sellers across Europe, to take up the mass-produced electric mantle for the company.

What will its rivals be?
Aside from the aforementioned VW Group trio, which are smaller than the 500, the obvious direct rivals are the MINI Electric, also due in for 2020, and Honda’s forthcoming, incredibly cute E city car. Already in place, as well, is the Peugeot e-208, which in turn will begat an Opel Corsa-e before too long. And, don’t forget the long-serving Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe, either.

Any tech info?
Very little at this stage. There is talk that the 500 EV will have tiny ‘suicide’ rear doors with which to access the rear seats, as three-door cars are no longer desirable, and the platform could also see an electric or part-electric Panda model built on it at a later stage. Beyond that, Fiat won’t say much more, other than its drivetrain will be ‘suitable for a city car’. Which probably means it won’t be massively powerful or have a gigantic electric range, much like the Honda E.

What will the range be like?
At this stage, Fiat is still not confirming the battery size, but it has suggested that there may be an innovative way of packaging said unit. As standard, the car is likely to come with a battery that offers a mere 100km range – but customers can then upgrade that with modular bolt-ons through rental, leasing and purchasing options, as befits their budget.

They’re high, because the 500 is easily Fiat’s biggest success story of the 21st century. While the Italian company isn’t exactly in the best of health at the moment, it still dominates sales charts across Europe with its small cars – the 500 and the Panda. And this despite the fact both of them are very old products, in terms of the automotive industry’s usual refreshment cycle. Therefore, an all-new, all-electric 500 could – if done right – be pivotal to the entire company’s business direction from hereon in.

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