The new Fiat 500, the first fully electric car from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA ), made its debut in a high specification version recently.
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 first model was created 63 years ago.
The new 500 takes inspiration from previous generations. The first generation 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.
This third generation is more sustainable, connected and autonomous, adhering to increasingly stringent regulations and using its popularity to inspire change.
Three other iconic Italian companies – Giorgio Armani, Bvlgari and Kartell – have combined their excellence in style, creativity and craftsmanship to create three unique versions of the new 500.
When designing the new 500 engineers started with a blank sheet of paper. FCA says that they worked on every aspect of the car with the utmost attention to detail and created solutions for best possible range, charging and driving experience.
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 320kms in the WLTP cycle. When you consider the new Kia Soul SUV is offering about a third more range (at circa 430kms ), FCA should be doing better.
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 48kms, 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.
In the UK (and possibly here too ), home charging solutions are also available. The launch edition of the new 500 comes complete with an Easy Wallbox, a home charging system that can 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 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 Easy Wallbox can be upgraded to 7.4kW, providing a full charge at home in little more than 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 driving style or requirements.
FCA says the 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 ).
FCA says the 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 150km/ph (self-limited ), acceleration from zero to 100km/ph (62mph ) in nine seconds, and zero to 50 km/ph in 3.1 seconds.