The New Fiat 500, the first fully electric car from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had been revealed today. The new generation of the iconic city car has a range of up to 320kms (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 first created 63 years ago.

The New 500 takes inspiration from the generations before it. The first generation of 500 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. The third generation is more sustainable, connected and autonomous, adhering to increasingly stringent regulations and using its popularity to inspire change.

 

So much substance: the best possible range, charging and driving experience
When designing the New 500 engineers started with a blank sheet of paper. 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. 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% 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.

 

The New 500 has three driving modes: Normal, Range and Sherpa, which can be selected to suit your driving style or requirements.

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).

“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 150kmh (self-limited) and acceleration from zero to 62mph in 9 seconds and zero to 31mph in 3.1 seconds.

Level 2 autonomous driving and connectivity

The car of the future is not just an electric city car, it is the first car in its segment to offer level 2 autonomous driving, bringing all the associated benefits to urban mobility.

  • Front-facing camera monitoring technology to monitor all areas of the car, both longitudinally and laterally
  • Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (iACC) system brakes or accelerates in response to cars, cyclists, pedestrians
  • Lane Centring keeps the vehicle in the centre of the lane when the markings are correctly identified
  • Intelligent Speed Assist reads the speed limits and recommends applying them
  • Urban Blind Spot uses ultrasonic sensors to monitor the blind spots and warn of any obstacles with a triangular warning light on the wing mirror
  • Attention Assist provides warnings on the display, recommending that you stop and take a break when you are tired
  • 360-degree sensors provide a drone-like view to avoid any obstacles when parking or performing complex manoeuvres

The New 500 is the first FCA car to be equipped with the new UConnect 5 infotainment system, the connected platform designed for the future. Developed with the idea of providing customers with a completely new user experience, UConnect 5 is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto operating systems and can be used in wireless mode.

The 500 offers seamless integration with a smartphone, offering a 10.25-inch high-definition horizontal touchscreen with a 16:9 aspect ratio that fits perfectly into the car dashboard.

UConnect 5 combined with the telematic box module not only provides the mandatory Emergency Call feature, but also a number of innovative connectivity services:

  • My Remote: checks the battery charge level from a smartphone; schedule vehicle charging during the most convenient time periods; know the exact location of the car; lock and unlock the doors and set the climate control system
  • My Navigation: set the destination on the car navigator, identify the route, check the traffic and weather conditions along the route, and see speed camera and charging point locations, all directly from the app
  • My Assistant: an assistance system to supplement an emergency call to talk to with assistant to ask for help in the event of breakdown
  • My Theft assistance: this tracks the car so that it can be recovered if stolen
  • My Wi-Fi: A true hotspot that connects up to eight electronic devices to the network at the same time (this service is only available in some markets)
  • My Car: to check the condition of the car, immediately verifying various parameters from tyre pressure to service schedule

The UConnect 5 system works both inside and outside the car, allowing the driver to set the navigation route in advance, and to pre-condition the climate. Smartphones can be connected in just five seconds using wireless functionality.

The launch version also boasts the natural language interface system, with advanced speech recognition, to talk to the car to control parameters, set the climate control and choose the music.

Style and design
In terms of style, the New 500 implements future mobility in an Italian way, bringing together the considerable legacy of the two previous generations. Integrating the classic and cool style of the 500 rooted in 63 years of history, the New 500 is still an iconic city car with the same stylistic proportions and clean design. During the design phase, the Fiat Centro Stile worked on clean lines and a consistent language to define the look of the third generation: crisp, advanced and compact, while being more graceful and elegant, shaped around a more proportioned approach to the chassis. This gives a perception of increased stability and dimensional presence.

Another requirement was to give the new model a dedicated 500 logo, which appears at the centre of the front badge for the first time, in the place of the Fiat logo. The current 500 logo at the rear keeps its link with the past, albeit transformed into the dedicated all-electric version: distinguished and embellished by a light blue border, with a play of design and colour transforming the final zero into a letter “E”.

The front bumper mirrors that of the 1957 version, almost facing the road, and the dynamic feel of the profile has been accentuated. The dividing line of the first generation separated the bonnet from the circular headlights, while today that separation has been redesigned, dividing the modular elliptical headlight. The light clusters are still round and iconic but now use LED technology while the door handles sit completely flush with the bodywork.

Its form demonstrates the same creative spirit. The substance of the new platform has given the third-generation 500 an incredible presence: it is 6cm wider and 6cm longer, the wheelbase has been extended by 2cm, and the wheels are larger and further apart, giving it more determination and greater comfort, despite its length remaining under four meters.

Inside, the 500 is completely new, with clear references first generation. Centro Stile has furnished the interior by distributing the bulk efficiently to achieve simplicity, trim aesthetics and provide visual clarity. This is exemplified by the wide dashboard and the modular storage solutions between the two front seats where the gear lever was originally located. There is more leg and shoulder space for occupants, while the flat floor houses the lithium batteries without compromising the luggage compartment capacity, which remains unchanged. The result is a well thought out and cleaner interior, with fewer buttons and crisp, harmonious lines. As per Fiat 500 hybrid, some trim levels will also receive seats made using “Seaqual” yarn with plastic recovered from the sea, while others make considerable use of eco-leather.

La Dolce Vita
The New 500 is the first four-seater convertible with zero tailpipe emissions. As an icon of La Dolce Vita, another unique feature of the new city car is the Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS). This is an acoustic warning for pedestrians that is mandatory at speeds up to 12mph. The chosen sound is not a common acoustic signal, but rather the music of Amarcord by Nino Rota, in pure Dolce Vita style, an example of the most authentic Italian creativity.

Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles