Electric Fiat 500 inches closer to production

The Centoventi, expected to be put into production in two to three years, will offer a customizable battery cell pack and a reconfigurable dash and interior.

Before Volkswagen gets the courage to greenlight an electric Beetle, Fiat is rushing ahead with the debut of its own retro-styled subcompact EV. Fiat parent company FCA has been testing prototypes of an electric Fiat 500 in California in recent weeks, ahead of the reveal of the all-new battery-electric model at the 2020 Geneva motor show.

Earlier this month the automaker announced its single largest investment to date in electric cars, committing to spend 5 billion euro through the year 2021 at its Mirafiori plant. A portion of that modernization budget will include a new assembly line at Mirafiori that will produce up to 80,000 units of the electric 500, which will enter production during the second quarter of 2020.

“This car was entirely conceived, designed and engineered here. It is a genuine product of ‘Made at Fiat’ and ‘Made in Turin’ ingenuity,” Pietro Gorlier, FCA COO for the EMEA Region said. “It is another excellent example of the ability to create and innovate which abounds in our company and in this city. In Turin, we are developing a new electric mobility center of excellence, which currently employs 260 people. The new Fiat 500 electric represents just the first phase of our investment plan for Mirafiori. This project will be followed by renewal of the Maserati range, starting with the Levante, and the addition of other models as projected in our business plan.”

The electric 500, which has yet to receive a formal name, was previewed earlier this year by the Centoventi concept in Geneva, showing off a boxier body and a very customizable interior. Fiat does not plan to stop selling the gas-engined 500, but rather to continue offering it alongside the new electric model given the fact that not all of its customers will be willing to make the switch to electric cars. So the gas-engined 500 still has some life left in it before it is redesigned.

“All of the cars that have rolled off the assembly line at Mirafiori were ground-breaking for their time, because they always had something innovative and unique. Whether it was their style, dimensions, engine, the materials used or the concept around which they were developed. Today, our idea of innovation has not changed. The new Fiat 500 BEV will adopt cutting-edge solutions in a very different industrial and marketing context from just a few years ago. Once again, it is set to become a milestone in the history of FCA and mobility,” added Gorlier.


The Centoventi, expected to be put into production in two to three years, will offer a customizable battery cell pack and a reconfigurable dash and interior.

Fiat wants the production version of the electric 500 to be the most affordable EV on the market — and even though that market will be Europe, this still means it plans to undercut the Nissan Leaf. The Geneva concept promised a base range of 62 miles and several battery options, including the possibility of adding individual battery cells at the dealer level. Fiat indicated that customers will be able to purchase three additional battery packs to fit into the car, each holding 62 miles each.

“The extra batteries are installed underneath the floor of the car by the service network,” Fiat said at the time. “A sliding rail, which supports and connects the batteries, makes their installation or removal particularly quick and easy. An additional battery, for mounting under the seat, is also available; it can be disconnected and put on charge directly in the user’s home or garage, just like the battery of a modern e-bike.”

The concept also showed off a reconfigurable interior, including a dash perforated by a large number of small holes that will be able to hold items like storage bins and cupholders. Fiat’s concept also featured a reconfigurable exterior, allowing customers to choose body panels for the car.

It remains to be seen just how many of the customization options Fiat will be able to put into practice, and just how many world markets will be ready for such a model — North American sales have not been confirmed. At the moment, Fiat’s goal of 80,000 units is certainly significant, but it’s still just a fraction of Fiat’s global output.


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