Electric Dreams: Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 is a gift that keeps on giving, not just for FCA but also for anyone who likes being around cars. But this small city car's appeal is much wider than that. The original was a legend, possibly superseded only by the Beetle. And Fiat's inspired move to bring it back as neo-retro hatchback in 2007 has been a big hit, sales of the 500 have grown every year since. So for the third gen car, FCA had to reinvent the car further.
And they might have just outdone themselves again. The new 500 will only be available as an EV. More than the still-cutesy styling, the numbers themselves are compelling. A 400km range in city-driving, along with a 320 km WLTP range is a good start. Also, the 42 kWh battery can add 50 km in five minutes or get from 0 to 80 percent charge in 35 minutes. All of these numbers are better than similar retro-themed rivals like the Honda e and the Mini Electric. Top speed is limited to 150 kmph and 0 to 100 kmph comes in under 10s.
The third-gen 500 looks slightly angrier now. Its longer, wider and has more room inside. The placement of the headlamp, tail lamps and their detailing has changed, but many of the instantly recognizable Fiat 500 design cues remain like the basic silhouette, the chrome-strips where a grille would usually be and so on. Things have have changed a lot more on the inside though. There's an uncluttered feel to it given the EV architecture but there's now a large 10.25-inch touchscreen that debuts a new version of FCA's UConnect. Also available is Level 2 autonomy. With typical Italian flair, there's a one-off BVLGARI and Armani collaboration in the works, while at low speeds the 500 warns pedestrians of its presence by playing Amarcord by Nino Rota.
Electrification bodes very well for small city cars like the 500, given their usage cycles. But the 500 is special because it adds so much more to the EV experience, in terms of style and image. With the Fiat brand all but dormant in India, this electric city car could just be the perfect vehicle to revive that well-remembered name in our markets.
Like the rest of the world, India is also getting set to make the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). While not all EVs may charge you up, there are some that can fortunately get your motor going. These electrifying cars are available abroad, and through this monthly series we hope to generate some high voltage current that will energize manufacturers to bring them here. Our charging port is eagerly waiting to get powered with your views.