TONIO DARMANIN says the new Fiat 500e has all the makings of an icon.
The New Fiat 500, the first fully electric car from FCA, has made its debut. The new generation of the iconic city car has a range of up to 199 miles (WLTP) and receives 85kW fast charging as standard. Production of the New 500 returns to its birthplace of Turin, Italy where the original model was first created 63 years ago.
The New 500 takes inspiration from the generations before it. The first generation of 500 offered freedom and mobility, establishing itself as an icon. Revived in 2007, the second generation introduced style and charm to the iconic city car that went on to conquer the world. The third generation is more sustainable, connected and autonomous, adhering to increasingly stringent regulations and using its popularity to inspire change.
Range and charging times are two key considerations for customers. The lithium-ion batteries, with a capacity of 42kWh, give the New 500 a range of up to 199 miles in the WLTP cycle. 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 35 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.
Home charging solutions are also available. The launch edition of the New 500 comes complete with an easyWallbox, a home charging system that can simply be connected to a normal home outlet. ENGIE EPS developed this solution exclusively for FCA. This simple, accessible “plug-and-charge” solution can be managed easily via Bluetooth. It can stabilise energy load by charging a 500 at home with up to 3kW of charging power, without the need for professional installation. The easyWallbox can be upgraded to 7.4kW, providing a full charge at home in just over six hours. The New 500 also comes with a Mode 3 cable for charging at up to 11kW from a public charge point.
The New 500 has three driving modes: Normal, Range and Sherpa, which can be selected to suit your driving style or requirements. Sherpa mode optimises the available resources to reduce fuel consumption to a minimum, enabling it to reach the destination set on the navigation system or the nearest charging station. Just like a Himalayan Sherpa, who is in charge of the whole expedition and is a guide to the destination, this driving mode adjusts various parameters: maximum speed is limited to 50mph; accelerator response is managed in order to reduce energy consumption; and deactivation of both the climate control system and heated seats (the driver has the option of activating them at any time).
‘Normal’ mode is as close as possible to driving a vehicle with a normal combustion engine, while ‘Range’ mode activates the one-pedal-drive function. By selecting this driving mode, the new 500 can be driven with the accelerator pedal alone. Releasing the accelerator causes much greater deceleration than with a normal combustion engine, almost as if the brake pedal was pushed. The brake pedal must be used to bring the car to a complete stop, however with daily use and a little experience, it is possible to drive using just the accelerator pedal.
The electric motor has an output of 87kW, providing a maximum speed of 93mph (self-limited) and acceleration from zero to 62mph in 9 seconds and zero to 31mph in 3.1 seconds.
The New 500 is the first FCA car to be equipped with the new UConnect 5 infotainment system, the connected platform designed for the future. Developed with the idea of providing customers with a completely new user experience, UConnect 5 is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto operating systems and can be used in wireless mode.
The 500 offers seamless integration with a smartphone, offering a 10.25-inch high-definition horizontal touchscreen with a 16:9 aspect ratio that fits perfectly into the car dashboard.
The UConnect 5 system works both inside and outside the car, allowing the driver to set the navigation route in advance, and to pre-condition the climate. Smartphones can be connected in just five seconds using wireless functionality.
In terms of style, the New 500 implements future mobility in an Italian way, bringing together the considerable legacy of the two previous generations. Integrating the classic and cool style of the 500 rooted in 63 years of history, the New 500 is still an iconic city car with the same stylistic proportions and clean design. During the design phase, the Fiat Centro Stile worked on clean lines and a consistent language to define the look of the third generation: crisp, advanced and compact, while being more graceful and elegant, shaped around a more proportioned approach to the chassis. This gives a perception of increased stability and dimensional presence.
Its form demonstrates the same creative spirit. The substance of the new platform has given the third-generation 500 an incredible presence: it is 6cm wider and 6cm longer, the wheelbase has been extended by 2cm, and the wheels are larger and further apart, giving it more determination and greater comfort, despite its length remaining under four meters.
Inside, the 500 is completely new, with clear references first generation. Centro Stile has furnished the interior by distributing the bulk efficiently to achieve simplicity, trim aesthetics 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. There is more leg and shoulder space for occupants, while the flat floor houses the lithium batteries without compromising the luggage compartment capacity, which remains unchanged. The result is a well thought out and cleaner interior, with fewer buttons and crisp, harmonious lines.
The New 500 is the first four-seater convertible with zero tailpipe emissions. As an icon of La Dolce Vita, another unique feature of the new city car is the Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS). This is an acoustic warning for pedestrians that is mandatory at speeds up to 12mph. The chosen sound is not a common acoustic signal, but rather the music of Amarcord by Nino Rota, in pure Dolce Vita style, an example of the most authentic Italian creativity.