New electric 500 series presented-Fiat’s new pacemaker

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The 500 represents the Fiat brand like no other Italian car. Now the “Cinquecento” is taking off in its third edition – completely new, fully electric and also more modern than ever before.

As is well known, the dead live longer: After the weak and not very innovative Fiat group threatened to disappear into insignificance after the death of patron Sergio Marchionne (1952-2018), it now seems to be on the rise again.

Only in December the Italian-American FCA group (Alfa, Chrysler, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati, among others) announced its merger with the French PSA group (Citroën, DS, Opel, Peugeot). The result of the merger is the fourth largest car manufacturer in the world.

Fiats DNA Donor
This week Fiat showed that Turin can still be innovative. In a lavishly produced video, hosted by Fiat President Olivier François, the Italians presented the third generation of the Fiat 500 after 1957 and 2007. And the “Cinquecento” is not just any car in the Fiat Group – it is the absolute Group bestseller and the DNA donor par excellence.

All the more remarkable that the new edition of the cult runabout will only be available as a pure stromer called the 500e.

The old 500 remains
But Fiat would not be Fiat, would not cause a bit of confusion with all the celebrations. Because in addition to the 500e, which stands on a completely new platform (and has nothing in common with previous E variants) and is increasing in length (+6 cm), width (+6 cm) and height (+2 cm), the previous 500e will continue to be offered in parallel as a combustion engine with hybrid drive.

Up to 400 km range
But let’s move on to the new 500e, which will one day roll off the production line 80,000 times a year at the Mirafiori plant in Turin. Its 42 kWh battery in the floor will provide a range of 320 kilometres (WLTP) – in the city even up to 400 kilometres. Thanks to an 85 kW charger, electricity for 50 kilometres should be recharged in five minutes, and the battery should be at 80 percent in 35 minutes. With the wallbox supplied for use at home, a full charge takes six hours.

The 87 kW (118 hp) electric motor accelerates the 3.63-meter city gnome to 50 km/h in 3.1 seconds and to 100 km/h in 9 seconds. The top speed is regulated at 150 km/h. In addition to “Normal”, the “Range” driving modes for “One-Pedal-Driving” and “Sherpa” can also be selected on the new centre console. The latter ensures maximum range by switching off all electrical consumers such as the heating and limiting the top speed to 80 km/h.

Autonomous and networked
The Fiat 500e is also the first small car in the world to drive autonomously to Level 2, with cameras and sensors recording the environment and ensuring automatic braking, acceleration and lane keeping. Blind spot alerts or 360-degree monitoring are also on board.

Inside, the 500e becomes a pioneer in the Group: for the first time, the new generation of the new FCA infotainment system Uconnect with 10¼ inch screen is available. It is based on Android, but can also play Apple Car Play. In general, the cockpit is more modern with a new digital display, and thanks to the lack of a gear lever it is also more airy, and the dashboard is clearer thanks to fewer buttons.

Almost 40,000 francs
The 500e is available closed like its predecessor or as a semi-convertible. For the market launch in July, the electric Cinquecento can now be pre-booked as a limited convertible special model “La prima” for 500 Euros (around 530 Fr.). However, this extensively equipped version costs 37,900 euros – around 40,000 francs. We assume that the 500e will probably start later at prices starting at around 35,000 francs.

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I am The Washington Newsday correspondent. I cover general science and Nasa news. I have been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018. You can contact me at [email protected]

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