Home » The Adorable Fiat Topolino Electric Quadricycle Starts At Less Than €10,000

The Adorable Fiat Topolino Electric Quadricycle Starts At Less Than €10,000

Fiat Topolino Topshot
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Here at The Autopian, we adore the Citroen Ami. We’re absolutely enamored with the concept of a reasonably-priced electric quadricycle, and now Fiat has gone and made the Ami even better. More details have been released on the charming Ami-based Fiat Topolino electric quadricycle, and we’re pleased to report that it’s all smiles.

Fiat Topolino 1

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

As expected, the Topolino won’t set the world alight with its performance figures. Top speed sits at 28 mph, while claimed range maxes out at 47 miles. Small figures, but then, this is an exceedingly small car. Legally, it isn’t even a car at all, but a quadricycle, which means that French 14-year-olds with a limited-class license can drive it on the public roads. Mind you, the Topolino’s operating parameters aren’t too far from the performance brief of the original Citroen 2CV, which should make it perfect for quick urban errands that aren’t convenient to do by public transit.

Fiat Topolino Rear

We’re already familiar with this thing’s Nuova 500-like face, but seeing the rear of the Topolino is a relief as it keeps the retro theme going. Chromed taillight clusters and silver trim recall Dante Giacosa’s iconic 500 of the late-’50s, and those aren’t the only retro touches around back. Because the Fiat Topolino doesn’t have a trunk as such, Fiat’s dug into its classic look book to get creative. Bolted to the rear of the car is a whimsically vintage-look chromed luggage rack, perfect for a wicker basket if you’re leaning into the look, or milk crates if you just want to keep things cheap and cheerful.

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Fiat Topolino Interior

For a basic quadricycle, the standard Topolino offers a surprising array of amenities. Sure, you won’t be finding Apple CarPlay or heated seats here, but a panoramic roof is a lovely touch, the netted door pockets are absolutely massive, and the smartphone holder is cheap infotainment done right. I even like the charmingly low-res digital cluster that looks a bit like an iPod dock from 2005.

Fiat Topolino Dolcevita

If you’re the sort of person to wake up and say, “Where we’re going, we don’t need doors,” step on up to the charmingly-named Topolino Dolcevita. It’s the full-on beach car version of Fiat’s littlest EV, a doorless bundle of joy with a roll-back fabric sunroof. It’s Mediterranean in all the best ways and can even be ordered with a shower to hose off the sand and salt you might accumulate after a day at the seaside. Best of all, the Dolcevita isn’t any more expensive than the standard Topolino, which makes it one of the more affordable ways to get into a beach car.

Fiat Topolino Bluetooth Speaker

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With a low price and a retro appearance, the Topolino seems ripe for customization, and Fiat dealers will oblige with a wide array of accessories. Some, like a USB-powered fan and a Bluetooth speaker, are things probably best obtained aftermarket, but faux-wood paneling, go-fast stripes, and seat covers that double as towels sound genuinely fun.

Fiat Topolino Dolcevita 1

I still think the Topolino would sell in America against various golf carts that are so popular these days. Not only is it faster than a Club Car Onward or electric Moke, it offers some protection from the elements, ever so slightly more range than the Moke, and could theoretically be competitive based on pricing. In Europe, the Fiat Topolino starts at €9,890, which converts out to $10,767 at the time of writing. While no Changli, it’s definitely on the cheap end for this segment. In any case, expect to see these little things running around the Italian Riviera very soon.

(Photo credits: Fiat)

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Austin Vail
Austin Vail
11 months ago

It’s very cool, but too slow. If I owned one, I’d be looking into a way to mount a partial motorcycle frame to the back in such a way that I can lower the motorcycle tire onto the pavement whenever I desire to gain some useful extra speed.

Some may call it “ridiculous” and “unsafe,” I call it a responsible practical hybrid five-wheeler.

Sbzr
Sbzr
11 months ago

wish it could be using some kind of battery swap system like Gogoro, that could push prices down and basically make them an amazing deal in the used market for the future, to keep them running for as long as possible

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
11 months ago

Gosh, that’s cute as heck. More car-like than a Twizy, and also cute as heck. I wanna hoon it.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
11 months ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

Like that kid in Monaco who flipped the Ami? 😉

William Domer
William Domer
11 months ago

In sea mist green or is that Bianchi green, I want it. Yes I am way to big for it at 6’2″ and 200+ but dang it just makes me smile. Wonder how it would fare in Wisconsin’s snow.

Iain Tunmore
Iain Tunmore
11 months ago

When the Ami was launched a great deal was made of the efficiency of design, how the front panel is the same part as the rear, etc. This throws that away for styling instead, and looks great for it.

So, were all those savings on the Ami not worth while from a business point of view? Is it more important to design something to be stylish than efficient? As an engineer, I love the absolute minimalism of the Ami’s design, but would I buy one over this, quite probably not, so who would?

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
11 months ago

I wouldn’t dare drive this on my commute. I’d get run over in a heartbeat. Neat for some small UK towns though

Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
11 months ago

This would be such a nice little commuter for me if it was juuust a little faster. I need to get up to 50 for 5 minutes to get to work ????

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
11 months ago

When my kids shuffle me off to a retirement village, this will be my golf cart.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago

If this Fiat quad can be built and sold using first-world labor for around $10k USD, then theoretically, the vehicle I have in mind, a much smaller 1-seater based upon a velomobile using mostly cheap Chinese ebike parts for the drive system, should be producible for far less.

A car to look to as a starting point for what I have in mind is Michael Lewis’ Electrathon Car. Imagine a version of that, scaled up slightly(about 1.2x size so that the rider isn’t cramped), DOT wheels/tires all around, rack and pinion steering, safety harness for the rider, maybe even a small AC system.

Less materials are needed overall for the vehicle itself than this Fiat. It would only seat 1, and ready to ride fully assembled with battery but unladen, would weigh under 150 lbs. The batteries, motors, controllers, and other associated electronics to build a one-seater microcar with AWD and about 30 peak horsepower can all be bought off the shelf for under $4k in volume for one vehicle, including shipping costs, from an assortment of suppliers. In a large production run for a series of mass produced vehicles, the drive system’s cost would be significantly less than half that. If this vehicle ends up weighing around 400 lbs laden with rider and luggage, it could have supercar acceleration, but with the aerodynamics of a velomobile, you could go hundreds of miles on a tiny 3 kWh battery at highway speeds for mere pennies. Every 240V outlet would almost be the equivalent of a Tesla Supercharger in terms of miles of range replenished per minute, and every 120V outlet would be at least like Level II charging. And it would be enclosed, unlike a scooter, moped, or motorcycle, and it would also have a roll cage and crumple zones, making its safety factor closer to that of a car, plus could have a trunk comparable in storage capacity to that found on a Mazda Miata.

Why isn’t anyone doing this? It makes use of existing road infrastructure, is rapid individual transport that’s cheaper than taking the bus, would be extremely economical to produce and operate, would be perfectly practical for commuting and errands for most people, and as far as performance goes, could offer more value for the money than anything currently in existence. It would be nice to be able to drop under $10k on a vehicle, and mess around with Dodge Charger Hellcats at the stop lights.

I’ve built a proof of concept that falls well short of the above regarding performance and safety, but the rest of the components of the idea are present and working, and it would cost less than $4k to replicate what I have as a one-off(1.5 kWh, RWD, 13 horsepower), nevermind the potential to get much cheaper if mass produced. A 150 mile ride costs $0.15 worth of electricity.

Last edited 11 months ago by Toecutter
Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
11 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

No offense, but the vehicle you are describing sounds absolutely terrifying. It presumably would be very small and low, so other vehicles would have a hard time seeing it (and your head would be at bumper height with a lot of trucks and SUVs). It would also be a safety hazard in a collision. It may have roll cages, but those can’t change the laws of physics and make a 300 lb. vehicle win in a collision with a 5,000 lb. vehicle. Plus, as we are all used to driving vehicles with multiple seats, any single seat enclosed vehicle would feel cramped, even if there is adequate interior room for the driver.

This vehicle also doesn’t sound very practical. It is very cheap to buy and run, but you would need to keep a second vehicle for times you need to carry passengers or cargo. The second vehicle would negate any cost savings a vehicle like this would provide. This vehicle might work for some people, but most buyers would be far better off buying a used Leaf (if they can deal with the short range) or a Prius. The Leaf or Prius may not be fast like the vehicle you are describing, but most buyers who want basic transportation don’t care about that kind of thing (and a lot of drivers would be too scared to drive something this small fast). I just don’t see a market for a vehicle like the one you are describing.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
11 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

No, a two car solution is more better. If you could actually buy something like that for ~5k, you could buy a used pickup or sedan for ~5k easy. Now, will 10k buy something with an 8 foot bed that gets 100mpg highway? The fuel savings will pay it off quickly.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
11 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

A two car solution might work for some people, but it really depends on how much of your driving needs could be met with the cheap single seat electric vehicle. With the second car, you would have additional costs for insurance and storage. Also, any vehicle you can purchase for $5,000 is going to require maintenance and repairs to stay on the road. Insurance, maintenance, and repairs could add up to hundreds of dollars per year. It would be easier to spend that money on fuel for a Prius.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
11 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

So I live in Idaho where registration is $70/yr. I understand that it’s 10x that in other places. Adding a car to your insurance does not cost a lot. Maintenance and repairs are going to be way cheaper on a little car than even a Prius, and splitting your miles between two cars more or less splits the maintenance costs too, since you’re driving each one less.

All of this means that a second car for me only costs a couple hundred a year, which absolutely will not fuel a Prius.

And this whole argument is fairly pointless, since for most people two cars would not be replacing one- it would be replacing two. A crap ton of American households already have two cars, usually a family hauler and a commuter. Replacing the commuter with a more efficient commuter costs absolutely nothing.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
11 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

“A crap ton of American households already have two cars, usually a family hauler and a commuter. Replacing the commuter with a more efficient commuter costs absolutely nothing.”

This has been my argument in favor of electric vehicles for some time (particularly the first generation Leaf since they are dirt cheap). For most two car households it is easy to replace one with a low or moderately priced EV. I think a single seat EV is too limited to be considered a replacement for a vehicle, though.

It sounds like owning a car is much cheaper where you live. It is hard to insure any car here in Florida for less than $500 per year. That’s a lot of money for gas, even without adding the costs for maintenance and registration of a second car.

Last edited 11 months ago by Stig's Cousin
ProudLuddite
ProudLuddite
11 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

Yeah, same here, I think they should be focused on making EVs that are cheap but don’t look or feel like a penalty box instead of chasing range. Would be a great choice for a second car for commuters in suburbia that have garages and multiple cars.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

The ride height would be close to that of a Corvette or Lotus Elise. That’s the case with the Milan SL velomobile I bought two years ago. Adequate crumple zones can greatly reduce the impulse of a collision with a larger vehicle. My 70 lb Milan SL has been hit by a CUV in a manner that allowed me to walk away without injury, whereas if I was inside my ~1,800 lb electric Triumph GT6 conversion, I might have been injured and the car totaled. Instead, the Milan cracked and bounced, and I was able to repair it with some carbon fiber weave and epoxy resin.

The reason I suggest a one-seater is that you can get away with a much lighter vehicle hauling around one person than two people. To haul one person, you can get away with a vehicle lighter than the person. To haul two people, everything needs to be built stronger to handle the extra load. You need stronger wheels, stronger axles, stronger mounting points, stronger suspension, ect. The chassis also needs to be stronger to accommodate the extra mass in a collision, as the chassis and any occupant protection needs to be able to withstand all of the forces generated by its entire laden mass in a wreck. This is especially true as speed climbs. So what was a 150 lb vehicle, can now become a 600+ lb vehicle, to accommodate that second person. Plus unless it is a tandem two-seater, that extra person also entails a frontal area increase, meaning more drag. In turn, you’ve also nearly doubled the materials cost to build the vehicle, and possibly tripled the battery cost.

The entire point of the idea is to provide the comfort, stability, trunk space, and all weather operability of a car, and as close to as much safety as a car as is possible, in a package that costs more closer to a moped than a car in both purchase price(at least if mass produced) and running costs. Accommodating a second person makes this much more difficult. And since it’s a “penalty box”, give the operator something in exchange for everything they’re giving up: lots of cheap ass-hauling capability to match or beat performance vehicles that most people will never be able to afford. Take your sub-$10k “penalty box” to the track and run circles around $2 million hypercars.

I think there is a large potential niche for something like this, especially for a large percentage of millennials and Gen Z that are priced out of car ownership altogether. Who knows though? Nothing like this has ever been tried. It will require mass production to be affordable, but since a startup rarely ever reaches that stage, at least it could have the performance to justify the price tag of a hand-built exotic in order to possibly remain viable in low volume production as well.

A. Barth
A. Barth
11 months ago
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
11 months ago

“Having a bad day?”
Topolino Dolcevita: “A bad day, what’s that?”

Last edited 11 months ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
11 months ago

This little thing looks like a bundle of joy! I’d like one in purple, please!

Hotdoughnutsnow
Hotdoughnutsnow
11 months ago

I just want to live in a place where this is a practical* solution; I love everything about this.
*your definition of practical may vary.

Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
11 months ago

I find this car very charming, especially the velvet rope doors.

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