Next Fiat 500 to arrive in 2020 only as electric car, executive confirms
Mar 12, 2019 Bengt Halvorson
2013 Fiat 500e
Are you ready for a new generation of the Fiat 500e electric car?
[image] 2013 Fiat 500e electric car, Los Angeles drive event, April 2013
At the pace of the auto industry, and its five or six year cycles, it’s
overdue. And from a report released last week, it could arrive around this
time next year.
Last week Fiat revealed an all-electric Concept Centoventi [
], which envisioned a future EV that would offer a lot more customization
Fiat in the U.S. could not reveal any more information about the Centoventi
or its production intent, saying it’s just a concept. But FCA chief
marketing officer Olivier François told Top Gear something quite different:
that it previews the strategy behind an all-new Fiat 500e due just a year
from now—one that will be electric-only.
The current, front-wheel-drive Fiat 500e, which has already been around for
seven model years, is built on a design that was introduced to Europe in
2007 (and then the U.S. in 2011), and hasn’t changed much at all along the
Today the 500e offers 84 miles of EPA-rated range—actually 3 miles less than
it did when it was introduced for the 2013 model year.
Since the beginning, though, we’ve noted that this model is generous on
real-world range, and at a time when some of the other affordable electric
vehicles were caught up in leaves and twigs and gamification, the 500e
seemed to have been engineered by people who understood that EVs needed to
put their best foot forward in driving dynamics, emphasizing the perky side
of going electric.
That electric-only claim deserves a big asterisk. In could soon become a
familiar theme, the Fiat 500 will have all-new underpinnings in electric
form, while gasoline versions will continue indefinitely on the existing
platform, with minor updates to come.
Porsche, for instance, is building the next generation of its Macan SUV only
as a fully electric model. The current gasoline Porsche Macan will continue
for an undisclosed time, although with shared production space at Leipzig it
may only amount to a year or two.
[image] 2011 Fiat 500 launch event at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show,
Francois also said that the finished, next-generation 500e will “be very
true to the spirit of the original 500”—a nod that Top Gear took to mean
Fiat is likely looking to move the 500e to rear-wheel drive, like the
The often-repeated (for good reason) reality check from the late CEO Sergio
Marchionne—that the company loses about $10,000 on each 500e it makes—likely
weighs heavily on the carmaker's decision. To aim for the premium price
François suggested, the new production model will have something more like a
400-km (248-mile) range rather than a 200-km (124-mile) one, and perhaps not
be as utilitarian as the concept.
With that, the lower price of batteries still falling quite rapidly, and a
focus toward the performance side of the 500, perhaps Fiat can get out of
the red and still win some more hearts for electric cars next year.
8 Complaints: 2015 Fiat 500e Electrical System Problems ... Fiat 500e won't
charge -- bricked? ... Third Recall For Fiat 500e: 5,600 Electric Cars To Be
+ (deathOFice has NGK pull-spark-plug4 solid-state ceramic battery R&D)
The end of gas-powered cars is sending this Japanese spark plug maker to the
March 7, 2019 ... NGK Spark Plugs’ ... ultra-thin ceramic insulator ...
expertise could be applied to ... develop solid-state batteries with their
ceramic techniques ...
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