Italian auto manufacturer Fiat introduced their 500 model to the world all the way back in 1957. The Fiat 500 was a rear-engined, four seat, city car that could be had in two-door saloon or two-door station wagon guise. The little Fiat 500 stayed in production for 18 long years from 1957 to 1975 and it quickly became a popular choice for motorists around Europe and other parts of the world, this was primarily because of the 500’s affordable purchase price and cheap running costs. However, in 1975 the Fiat 500 was discontinued and let’s be honest, Fiat never properly replaced the little 500.
Until 2006 that is, when Fiat announced that they would be bringing back the little 500 and by March, 2007, exactly 50 years after the original Fiat 500 was unveiled, Fiat pulled the covers off of the new Fiat 500. The second generation Fiat 500 is a retro-inspired, modern day take on the original, and it is probably one of the best selling, retro-inspired city cars on sale today alongside BMW’s Mini Cooper. Over the last 12 years the Fiat 500 has become a popular choice for city motorists and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. Besides the high performance variant of the 500, the Abarth 500 it is the all electric Fiat 500e which is my favourite version of Fiat’s cute retro-inspired city car and it’s not hard to see or understand why, especially when living in a crowded, heavily polluted city.
However good the current Fiat 500e may be, the Italian auto manufacturer has decided it is not good enough, therefore Fiat has recently announced and confirmed that an all new version of the all electric Fiat 500e will be officially unveiled at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show. Dubbed by many motoring publications as the “Urban Tesla” (and it’s probably a better buy too) the upcoming Fiat 500e is believed to take it’s place within the current Fiat 500 model line-up, alongside it’s conventional internal combustion powered siblings, which according to Fiat will receive both styling and technical upgrades in order to keep up with the all new 2020 Fiat 500e.
According to Fiat boss Olivier Francois, the upcoming 2020 Fiat 500e will be built on a unique electric car platform, which could even be used by the Panda-inspired Centoventi concept, if it ever makes production that is. The bespoke electric car platform which will be used by the new 500e has been developed in house by the FCA Group, and according to Olivier Francois, he would personally be open to sharing the technology with partners, however he did stress the fact that any such decision would have to be made at a Group level. Unfortunately when asked, Olivier Francois refused to disclose if the 2020 Fiat 500e would be rear wheel drive or not, however he did say he “was open to the idea”, which is quite interesting.
However, if we take into account the limited available space for the battery packs, as well as the funky urban image of the Fiat 500, the overall range of the upcoming 2020 Fiat 500e is probably going to be less than that of larger electric vehicle’s such as the Nissan Leaf, which has an overall range of around 250 miles. However, the upcoming 2020 Fiat 500e will not rival the Nissan Leaf but it will instead rival the growing number of smaller electric vehicles, like Mini’s first ever production electric vehicle and Honda’s all electric Urban, both which will arrive later this year.
Besides the 2020 Fiat 500e, Fiat did confirm that there would be two new additions to the 500 model line-up, which will come in the form of a Fiat 500 Giardiniera Estate and a mild-hybrid Fiat 500 which is set to be launched later this year. If you know your Fiat 500’s then you will no doubt know that the Fiat 500 Giardiniera Estate originally debuted in the 1960’s and it was essentially a station wagon version of the little Fiat 500. According to Fiat, the upcoming 500 Giardiniera Estate will offer the most space seen in a vehicle in its class, and will feature that “unmistakable” Fiat 500 design and it too will be offered in both mild-hybrid and full electric guises.
According to Fiat, the upcoming, updated version of the 2020 500 will also feature new platform architecture that can accommodate and be easily outfitted with a mild hybrid system. It is believed that the mild-hybrid system will consist of a belt driven, 12V starter-generator, but hardly any information has been disclosed regarding the electric drivetrain which will be used in the all electric versions of the 2020 Fiat 500, however Fiat has said that “lower-emissions” petrol powered engines will also be available in the 2020 Fiat 500 and Panda.
The 2020 Fiat 500e will use one of four electric powertrains offered by the FCA Group . Of the four available electric powertrains, the smaller FCA offerings are believed to use a ‘City Car’ powertrain, while a bigger ‘Mainstream’ powertrain will be launched in the Jeep Grand Commander. That’s not all because the FCA Group will also offer a ‘Performance’ powertrain, and as the name suggests it will be a performance electric powertrain that is set to feature in the 2020 Maserati Alfieri, while a ‘Premium’ powertrain will power the 2022 Maserati Quattroporte. Because of FCA’s abandonment of the diesel engine, FCA will no longer offer diesel powered vehicles after 2022. In order to fill the gap left by the diesel engine, the FCA Group will offer quite a few hybrid powertrains combinations with full hybrid and plug in hybrid options set to be offered.
Pictured: Current Fiat 500e
Steve & Chris Parry are contributors from stevespeedza.blogspot.com