Fiat entered the zero-emission world with a model that is, to say the least, emblematic : the 500. Iconic in terms of numbers, since it is the Turin-based brand's best-selling car after the Panda, and iconic in terms of style, the 500 is quite simply inimitable.

But don't be fooled by the obvious resemblance between the electric 500e and the internal combustion model. In fact, this EV has been completely redesigned and its components are 96% original.

Even the many aesthetic differences are not lost on a keen observer: the headlights, for example, both front and rear, the bumpers, door handles, mirrors and overall proportions (the EV has wider tracks and a slightly more 'earthy' silhouette).

A premium flavour

The differences become more obvious when you get on board: the electric 500e has an interior defined by a more modern design, refined finishes and higher perceived quality, as well as a greener vocation resulting from the adoption of upholstery made from recycled materials.

A Week in Electric with the electric Fiat 500e

The central 10" touchscreen on the electric 500e

The digital instrumentation behind the steering wheel and the central touchscreen dedicated to infotainment are appreciated. This is equipped with the Uconnect5 system, which offers good connectivity and access to a number of functions, including checking the battery status. However, it does not support OTA updates.

Comparison with the internal combustion engine

The electric Fiat 500e was developed at a time when Stellantis did not yet exist. There was therefore no logical sharing of platforms and technologies between PSA and FCA. The platform on which it is based is derived from that of the combustion 500, modified accordingly to make room for the batteries and the new powertrain. The wheelbase has been reduced from 2.30 to 2.32 metres and the length from 3.57 to 3.63 metres. The width has also changed, from 1.62 to 1.68 metres.

Fiat 500 elettrica

The weight has also changed: the version with the 1.0-litre petrol engine weighs almost a tonne (980 kg) and the electric car 1,365 or 1,405 kg, depending on the version. On the other hand, load capacity remains unchanged: the boot has a volume ranging from 185 to 550 litres.

  • Length : 3.63 metres
  • Width : 1.68 metres
  • Height : 1.53 metres
  • Wheelbase : 2.32 metres
  • Weight : 1,405 kg (1,365 kg for the Action version)
  • Boot capacity : 185 to 550 litres

Unique platform

The electric 500 is produced at Mirafiori, in Fiat's historic Turin plant, using methods similar to those for a combustion-powered car. The difference is that at one point it houses a lithium-ion battery manufactured and supplied by Samsung and places a permanent magnet synchronous motor weighing 60 kg under the front bonnet.

Fiat 500 electric Cabrio

Fiat 500e electric convertible

The platform has already been mentioned: among the most obvious changes are the different positioning of the seat mountings and the outward placement of the side members. What's curious is that this electric 500e could be the only model in a group of more than a dozen brands to use this platform. Between the Smart Car (used in the Citroën e-C3) and the STLA Small, Stellantis has several alternative platforms that may offer better value for money.

Two power (and battery) variants

In terms of powertrains, the electric 500e is available in two versions. There's the Action, which is the entry-level model in terms of equipment and performance, with a 23.8 kWh battery that recharges at 50 kW of power and promises a WLTP range of 118 miles (190 km), and a 94 bhp front electric motor.

The rest of the range is equipped with a 42 kWh battery (199 mi/320 km WLTP range) that recharges to 85 kW and powers a more powerful electric motor capable of delivering 116 bhp and 220 Nm at ground level. Just enough to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 9 seconds and reach a top speed of 93 mph (150 km/h) electronically limited.

  500e Action 500e
Battery 23.8 kWh 42 kWh
Charging Up to 50 kW Up to 85 kW
Range 118 miles WLTP 199 miles WLTP

Maximum power

94 bhp 116 bhp
Max torque 220 Nm 220 Nm
Maximum speed 93 mph 93 mph

Easy recharging

As far as recharging is concerned - the socket is in the same place as the fuel tank neck, above the right-hand rear wheel - the 500e has a type 2 connection for alternating current and CCS Combo2 for direct current.

At home, plugged into the normal 2.3 kW socket, the 500e gains 6.8 miles (11 km) range in an hour. If you have a 4.5 kW wallbox, you can double the speed, recharging 13.6 miles (22 km) every hour. Still on alternating current, but with a 22 kW wallbox, you gain 34.2 miles (55 km) per hour, while if you connect to a fast charger, at the theoretical maximum power of 85 kW, you gain 139 miles (224 km) in 30 minutes.

A very mature city car

Thanks to its battery placed centrally under the floor, the electric 500e has a low centre of gravity and an almost optimal weight distribution: 52% at the front and 48% at the rear. This architecture guarantees good agility, especially in town, where the car performs best. It also has a suspension that filters out bumps in the road, and is agile and quiet.

The car has three driving modes: Normal, Range and Sherpa. The second allows single-pedal driving by activating maximum regeneration when braking and coasting; the third adjusts the powertrain and all on-board devices to ensure maximum mileage. It reduces power, sets the top speed at 50 mph (80 km/h) and disconnects the air conditioning - all to reduce power consumption and get you to the charging station when you've miscalculated.

Is the electric Fiat 500 really for everyone?

The Fiat 500e three body variants: saloon, cabriolet and 3+1

Conquering the United States

The electric 500e is the first in a line that began on 4 July 1957 and has every reason to appeal beyond Italy's borders. In fact, since its debut two years ago, it has more than once made it into the top 10 best-selling zero-emission cars in Europe.

In fact, it's the ideal model for anyone who wants to experience driving a battery-powered car without spending a fortune, and who can count on an agile, compact vehicle with sufficient performance and space to get around town with complete peace of mind. In fact, it is also preparing to arrive in the United States in January, in the hope of repeating the figures achieved on the Old Continent.

Finally, the electric 500e is available in three body variants. In addition to the classic 'saloon' and 'cabriolet' body styles we already know from the 500 petrol, there is the new 3+1, which features a hidden rear door on the right-hand side. This is a solution designed to improve rear access and will appeal to all families who need to take their children to school. As far as the range is concerned, the electric 500e has also been available for some time now in an Abarth version.

Gallery: Fiat 500e Convertible (2022) test