Fiat struck gold when it relaunched the Fiat 500 in 2007, not a housing estate or street in the UK doesn’t seem to have one parked up and with over 2 million sold the 500 is going from strength to strength. Now it seem’s the chic City car will spearhead Fiat’s switch to electric power.
According to a recent high-level meeting at FCA at the Turin design centre last month, led by Fiat chief executive, Oliver François, the Italian car manufacturer continued it’s commitment to its flourishing city car business as well as a selection of larger vehicles. François was quoted as saying: “Fiat has a double mission. Urban mobility is core today, but at the same time, it means family transportation. In southern Europe, this is especially true,”
“For our future product plan, we need the right balance between the two dimensions: the Fiat 500 family and family transportation. There will be no big cars, no premium cars, no sporty cars because they have no legitimacy. We will be present in the C-segment [Ford Focus class] but not much more. All models will sit within 3.5m and 4.5m (11.4 feet to 14.7 feet). This is where Fiat will play. We need more EVs. And we need more 500 models that look legitimate enough to take higher pricing,” the chief executive confirmed.
This seem’s to suggest we can rule a new 124 Spider out (unless it is Abarth only), the Tipo long rumoured to be killed off will indeed be the case, with the Fiat 500 family growing, leading the charge with five electric/plug-in hybrid models. This is no surprise as Fiat’s main Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy will be able to produce up to 80,000 electric cars to start with, which suggest’s there will be several models.
The next generation Fiat 500 model is expected to change from a 3-door design to a compact five-door arrangement with rumours suggesting it will incorporate small suicide rear doors like the BMW i3 and the classic Mazda RX-8, a design touch that would suit the stylish 500 very well. According to François the electric 500 will have a modular battery system with a range rating of around 100km as standard. This can be upgraded “by renting, buying or leasing” extra battery cells.
The Fiat boss states “only the A- and B-segments can generate hundreds of thousands of EV sales”, and believes the electric 500 can make a real change as the company “sells one in three small cars [across Europe] with the 500 and Panda.”
The next-generation Fiat Panda due to arrive in 2021, will get an all-electric version with the design based on the Fiat Centoventi concept revealed earlier this year. Other models set for electrification are the 500X and the upcoming 500 Giardiniera which is expected to replace the ‘love it or hate it’ Fiat 500L. The Fiat 500 Giardiniera will have a Mild Hybrid version, with the FireFly engine flanked by an electric engine, when it arrives, with a fully electric version following shortly after.
The question mark over the Tipo remains however, some have suggested it could be replaceed by a small SUV based on the same platform as the Jeep Renegade, however as Oliver François comments suggest, anything bigger than C-segment is a no go, and with the 500X in the range it doesn’t need another small SUV.