Back in 2019, lovers of city cars were dealt a blow when Fiat announced that the Fiat 500 and 500e wouldn’t make it to 2020. The cute Italian city car–which less than a decade before relaunched Fiat in North America–joined the likes of the Smart Fortwo and Scion iQ in the dustbin. But today, Fiat announced news that should make city car fans ecstatic. After what will be a five year absence, the adorable Fiat 500 city car is coming back to America. This time, we’re getting just the electric version, the 500e, and the little city car is bringing style with it.
Not too long ago, car buyers in America had a whole buffet of options for tiny cars. You could get the super reliable Honda Fit, quirky Smart Fortwo, sensible Scion iQ, inexpensive Mitsubishi Mirage, peppy Mazda2, or the hot Fiat 500. Even domestic brands were in on small cars with cars like the Ford Fiesta and the Chevrolet Spark. Tiny car competition was hot. But nowadays? Not so much. You can buy a Mitsubishi Mirage and the Chevy Spark, but everything else has fallen to larger, more popular models. Even the Honda Fit didn’t survive and the Spark is also getting cut. There are Minis, of course, though those have grown a bit since their reboot.
So, recent announcements from Stellantis have been surprising. In July, Stellantis confirmed that the Fiat 500 was getting a second shot in America, this time purely as an EV. But that confirmation didn’t come with any word on when we’d see the new car. Today, Stellantis has finally spoken, and we’re getting the new car in 2024, about five years after Fiat announced the 500’s departure from our shores.
As of right now, this new announcement doesn’t come with any tech data whatsoever. And no word if we’re getting the funky 3+1 door version, either. There is another release happening later today that might reveal more information. But for now, we’re getting a handful of one-offs that show what kind of stunning looks the new car is capable of.
For these cars–which are displayed at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show–Fiat teamed up with Italian fashion design house Giorgio Armani, fashion design house Bulgari, and furniture design house Kartell. None of these are production cars, but they show off some creative Italian flair. The Armani 500e features a laser-etched paint job that’s meant to look like a fabric weave.
Kartell takes a different approach. Its version of the 500 covered in sustainable plastic panels and topped off with some pretty incredible wheels. Technology in the new 500e includes Level 2 driver assist technology like adaptive cruise control and a function for lane centering.
The Bulgari model goes far out with a colorful interior featuring a dashboard mural. That one also gets a steering wheel-mounted removable brooch with amethyst, citrine, and topaz gemstones.
At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Fiat said that these one-off concepts will be auctioned off to help organizations fight climate change. The automaker also said that the new 500 differs from the old one in one major way. This new car was designed to be an EV while the old one was an ICE platform adapted to be an EV.
While we wait to hear about official specs, we can take a peek at what Europe is already getting. Over there, you can get your electric Fiat 500 with a 42 kWh battery (37.3 kWh usable) coupled to a 117 HP motor. That setup is good for a 60 mph sprint in 9 seconds and a Europe WLTP range of 199 miles. It also comes with 85-kW DC fast charging, and Fiat says that it can get from a zero percent state of charge to 80 percent in 35 minutes. The automaker goes further, saying that you could get 31 miles of charge in just 5 minutes.
As of now, there’s no information about what the American version will have, but our David Tracy did get a shot of some hardware:
Fiat says that the new 500e will make a debut at the 2023 Los Angeles Auto Show before first deliveries go out in early 2024. Order books are expected to open six months before deliveries begin.
One thing’s for sure, this car is a big deal for Fiat. In 2014, former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne infamously told people not to buy the last Fiat 500e. Apparently, the company lost $14,000 on each one sold. And that was with Fiat selling them for $32,000 each and giving owners less than 100 miles of range. Hopefully, this new Fiat 500e could do what the last couldn’t.
It may have been “just” a compliance car, but they sold (er, leased) like crazy in Los Angeles, and the owners seemed to LOVE them. Seriously, they were *everywhere* around here for a while.
It’s a shame they are not bringing back the regular 500, especially the Abarth. But Americans Do Not Buy Small Cars, so I can hardly blame Fiat for that decision. At least the 500 design is unique enough to make this new 500e a differentiator among EVs.
i’m still mostly in love with my 500 Abarth after almost 5 years with it, though admittedly i’m eyeing up something with 4WD ( or a 2WD hybrid Maverick) so i can carry more on my camping adventures. the news that (europe at least) will get an Abarth version of the EV has kept me waiting though. if they can deliver 150+ miles on a charge and better handling/sportiness, i might be sold.
The max distances i have traveled yearly are about 150 miles. i could see doing some quick charging at the end just to get the final distance and then letting it charge overnight. and i could always take our other ICE vehicle if i felt like it. other than the 1/2 times a year at those distances, it’s much less than 50 miles in a given day.
Provided they sell one in the US with seating for at least 3 people (including the driver) AND I can get street legal snow tires for it I’ll get one.
The MINI Cooper is left out of the main article. Great little city car. These days they’re awfully expensive for what you get when they’re new, but wow, they’re a blast to drive.
Definitely nowhere near Toyota or Honda reliability, though. Maybe not even Fiat reliability. Minis all seem to develop engine misfires or fuel and air control problems (BMW Vanos) around 100-120,000 miles.
Not sure about the MINI electric. I never drove one of those because their range is so limited.
It looks like the same car they discontinued.
I do like the irony of hiring Armani to do one, who works with some of the best wool you can get your hands on, and having what appears to be a leather interior. Swing and a miss. Could have totally brought out an ultr-lux interior like the Toyota Century.
Haha, I thought the same. Leather seats in a conceptual collaboration with Armani does seem weird. The laser-etched paint job looks amazing though. Probably way too expensive to go on subcompacts but they may have come up with a fantastic option for more expensive offerings.
Awhile back I vacationed in California. Rental car prices were crazy so I tried Turo. Someone had Fiat 500’s available fairly cheap. I like my (non-Fiat) hatchback. Short wheelbase, stiff suspension, and tight handling make it a blast on mountain roads. Sure, let’s get the Fiat!
That car was the worst piece of shit I have ever driven. It felt slower than the Prizm I had in college, and definitely handled worse. It was underpowered, uncomfortable, and handled like a hungover giraffe on roller skates.
My wife got tired of me complaining about it and took the wheel. “It’s not that bad”, she said. I pointed out she was 20mph under the speed limit. As soon as she pushed it to highway speeds (glacially) and attempted to navigate a couple minor curves in the road, she agreed it was awful. As she drove it longer, she eventually decided it was the first and only car she actively hated driving.
Weird: we rented a base Fiat 500 with an automatic six or seven years ago and it was entirely pleasant despite not being a manual. Drove it up into the mountains east of Sacramento and enjoyed the curvy roads. We then bought the Abarth version and plan on keeping it for a long, long time.
Maybe you got one that had been abused, after all, it was Turo.
I don’t hate that and see EVs as the short runners of the future. This may lead to long term haulers, mostly as charging time goes down along with more options.
I would consider this as a commuter as my office has charging stations in the lot and once I can add one to my existing home.
I had a 2015 500e and I absolutely LOVED it. admittedly, my lease payment was $120/mo and the $5k down was paid back through local/state/federal rebates… so the price was right. Still, that thing scooted and because it was so quiet the general public didn’t mind when I floored it (no loud exhaust to annoy anyone). The car was a treat and I may end up getting another if they aren’t priced in the stratosphere.
About 5 years ago, a local dealer had a dozen off-lease 2015 500e’s with <10,000 miles on them for a little over $10,000. I wish I had bought one then, but earlier this year I bought a 2017 for $14K (24,000 miles) and I also LOVE it! I'll seriously consider getting one of these new ones at some point. The longer range and DC fast charging would make it ideal for my purposes. My little Fiat currently meets the vast majority of my travel needs and only the lack of fast charging holds it back. Otherwise, I love the style, the handling is great and the comfort is surprisingly good for such a small car (for the front seats only – the rear seats are terrible for anyone over 5 feet tall).
I've been drooling over the Euro spec versions of the new 500 for awhile now and I'm really glad they decided to bring them to the US. I hope they sell well!
Exact same here, down to the model year. The car was a lot of fun and much better than it had any right to be for the amount we were paying.
It was also charmingly Italian at estimating your range. You would regularly get range estimates of more than 125 miles after charging, when the true capacity of the battery was barely 80.
That’s awesome… would be a great city runabout electric! Looks to have a lot better range than the current electric MINI.
I drive an EV now but having this as our second car would be great. I usually drive about 20 miles a day and not very long on the freeway.
This sort of EV makes a lot of sense for folks who can’t charge at home (for whatever reason). Small and efficient, I could charge it once every couple weeks at a charging station and it wouldn’t take hours and hours.
No electric car takes hours and hours to charge on DC Fast Charging. L2 yes it could take hours to fully charge, this would still take 6 hours or so on L2 to full charge from 0 to 100.
Regardless of the results it’s always great whenever fashion designers get involved, especially with wheels such as this:
Mercedes, if you can even find any, some of those wheels might look pretty good on your kei cars; if you do so, a writeup would be great, especially given the lamentable rarity of such wheels.
Love it! I’ve always been fond of Fiat in general and running into 500s (particularly Abarths) in the wild always makes me smile. They’re such cheerful little things and in our sea of angry grayscale crossover blobs the quirky but timeless styling, fun colors, etc. of the 500s really stand out.
200 miles of range is perfect for a little car like this as well. I agree that it’s an amazing choice for a city car. If we didn’t need more space I’d be interested in one. I hope it sells well and gives the brand a shot in the arm. And who knows…maybe there will be an Abarth version down the road?
A man can dream. I’m anxiously waiting for more quirky EV/PHEV/hybrid fun cars to pop up in the sub 60k range. As excited as I am about the upcoming Ioniq Ns I have a feeling they’re going to command a price premium that I can’t really justify. What I really want is a full GR Prius based on the amazing new design but I’m not holding my breath.
I’m doubtful it will get 200 miles range real-world driving in the U.S. given the speeds commonly travelled on the interstate. 150 miles will probably be closer to the reality doing 75-80 mph in the fast lane. This car’s aerodynamics are not that great.
At 75 – 80, you’re probably right on target. But driving more slowly, I bet the rated mileage is pretty close. My reason for saying this is that my 2017 500e with a 24 kWh battery still gets every bit of its rated 80 miles of range and I can get nearly 100 miles out of a full battery in warm weather and on flat ground. That being said, I tend to stay in the slow lane and putter along at 55 – 60 mph and that makes all the difference for range. I can boost it up to 80 if I need to get out of a situation, but driving under the speed limit also keeps me away from most of the crazies who just zoom past me.
If this comes in at a reasonable price it would make a great commuter box. Room enough to toss some larger stuff in with the back seat folded too.