Brian Joss – The New 500, FCA’s first fully electric car was unveiled in Milan earlier this week. It will change the rules of the game for zero-emissions vehicles, Fiat said.
To picture the future of the 500, the Fiat brand started from what made it what it is. The same was true of the first generation, which offered mobility and freedom in the 1960s. The 500 represented a sea change, and became a much-loved brand. A car that was always on the crest of the wave, and that has established itself as an icon since its debut, 63 years ago.
With the second generation, launched in 2007, the Fiat 500 introduced the concept of coolness and charm to the city car, becoming an icon of Italian fashion and style that conquered the world. An ever-evolving model that has inspired artists and musicians over the past thirteen years, and has been the linchpin of more than 30 special series.
Now, in 2020, a new era is coming, and it is time for the Fiat 500 to use all its popularity to inspire change and become part of the solution, FCA said.
As mobility is expected to be more sustainable, connected and autonomous, with increasingly stringent regulations, the third generation of the Fiat 500 is once again at the fore, bringing with it design and driving pleasure.
It is not just a revolution, but the “reincarnation” of a spirit, one that can inspire renewal. In fact, rules and regulations are not enough for a true revolution, something iconic and beautiful is needed: the New Fiat 500, Fiat said.
When designing the New 500, the engineers started with a blank sheet of paper, so they could work on every aspect with the utmost attention to detail and choose the best solutions.
Range and charging times are two key issues for customers. The lithium-ion batteries with a capacity of 42 kWh give the New 500 a range of up to 320 km in the WLTP cycle.
To optimize charging time, the New 500 is equipped with an 85 kW fast charger system to charge the battery very quickly. For example, it takes only 5 minutes to build up a sufficient energy reserve to travel 50 kilometers, more than is needed for average daily use. And the fast charger can also charge the battery to 80% in just 35 minutes. The Combo 2 socket located on the rear right side panel of the car powers the fast charger, for both AC and DC charging.
Home charging solutions are also available. The launch edition of the new 500 includes the Easy Wallbox™, a home charging system that can be connected to a normal home outlet. ENGIE EPS developed this exclusively for FCA, and it will be marketed by Mopar in Europe to coincide with the launch of the model. It is a simple, accessible “plug-and-charge” solution that can be managed easily via Bluetooth, letting you stabilize your energy load by charging your 500 immediately at home with up to 3 kW of charging power, with no need for any intervention by skilled personnel. Moreover, the Easy WallboxTM is ready for a power upgrade to 7.4 kW, providing a full charge at home in just over 6 hours. The model also comes with a Mode 3 cable for charging from the public mains.
The New 500 has three driving modes: Normal, Range and Sherpa, which can be selected to match your driving style.
The engine has an output of 87 kW, providing a maximum speed of 150 km/h (self-limited) and acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 9.0 seconds and 0-50 km/h in 3.1 seconds.
The car of the future is not just an electric city car, but goes one step further: it literally goes to the next level by being 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 monitors all areas of the car, both longitudinally and laterally. The intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (iACC) system brakes or accelerates in response to anything: cars, cyclists, pedestrians. Lane Centering keeps the vehicle in the center of the lane when the markings are correctly identified.
Intelligent Speed Assist reads the speed limits and recommends applying them, while 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. Then there is Attention Assist, which provides warnings on the display, recommending that you stop and take a break when you are tired.
Finally, the 360° sensors provide a drone view to avoid any obstacles when parking or performing complex maneuvers.
The third-generation 500 is the first FCA car 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 in mind, FCA uses the easy, intuitive and incredibly customizable Android Auto operating system. For example, you can use widgets to configure how functions and apps are displayed. Apple CarPlay is already available wirelessly. The system is also ready to offer the same functionality for Android Auto.
UConnect 5 combined with the Telematic Box Module, as well as the mandatory Emergency Call function, offers customers a number of innovative connectivity services including My Assistant: an assistance system that connects the customer with an assistant to request help in the event of a breakdown and receive support to resolve any issues. The customer will also receive a report by e-mail, in which they can check the car’s current status.
The launch version also boasts the Natural Language interface system, with advanced voice recognition, so you can talk to the car to control parameters, set the climate control and choose your favorite music.
In terms of style, the New 500 implements future mobility in an Italian way, bringing together the considerable legacy of the two previous generations.
Because we must never forget that the New 500 is what it is, an iconic city car with the same stylistic proportions and clean design, a sign of our times. Classic, cool, and rooted in 63 years of history. During the design phase, the Fiat Style Center worked on clean lines and a consistent language to define the look of the third generation: crisp, advanced and compact, while being more sinuous and elegant, shaped around a more proportioned approach to the chassis. This makes it spatially attractive, giving a perception of increased stability and dimensional presence, according to Fiat.
The new model also gets a dedicated 500 logo, which appears at the center 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 color transforming the final zero into a letter “E”.
Inside, the electric 500 is completely new and elegant, with clear references to elements of the first generation. Like an interior designer, the Style Center has furnished the interior by distributing the bulk efficiently to achieve formal simplicity, trim aesthetics and visual clarity. This is exemplified by the wide and slender dashboard and the modular storage solutions between the two front seats where the gear shift console was originally located, significantly improving perceived comfort.
There is more space behind the shoulders and for the legs, while the flat bottom can house the lithium batteries without compromising the luggage compartment capacity, which remains unchanged. The result is a well-thought-out and cleaner environment, with fewer buttons and crisp, harmonious lines that are all about sustainability. As for the Hybrid Fiat 500, including the electric version, some trim levels also have seats made using “Seaqual” yarn, derived from plastic recovered from the sea, while others make considerable use of eco-leather rather than real leather.
The new 500 debuts in the convertible version: the first open-air four-seater with zero emissions: all open, all electric, all silent. As an icon of La Dolce Vita, it had to be reborn to bring out all the charm of its forms and sounds. And on the subject of sounds, here is another unique feature of the new city car, which will become available later: the Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS), an acoustic warning for pedestrians that is mandatory at speeds up to 20 km/h; the chosen sound is not a common acoustic signal, but rather the music of Amarcord by Nino Rota, an example of the most authentic Italian creativity.
CAPTION: Electrifying: the 500 La Prima, Fiat’s first fully electric car. Picture: Quickpic