The Fiat 500e product line has fallen short of expectations, and Stellantis plans to give it a push with a commercial version, as per a report by Automotive News Europe. The company has confirmed that a Fiat 500e van is in the pipeline to meet the demands of small commercial vehicle customers.
The Fiat 500e could serve as a last-mile delivery vehicle in urban locations, especially in cities or areas with a restriction on ICE vehicles in the future. It could have a flat floor, deleted rear seats, disabled rear-lateral opaque windows, and a mesh bulkhead dividing the front-seat area from the cargo area. It will likely compete with the Renault Zoe Business, also called Renault Zoe Cargo and Renault Zoe Van in some markets, which costs €34,700 in France and £28,140 in the UK.
Production of the Fiat 500e Van will take place alongside the other 500e versions at the Mirafiori plant in Italy.
On the new Fiat 500e
The Fiat 500 is an iconic model from the Italian brand. Unlike other famous nameplates that get a redesign with every generation, the 500 has retained its overall design with unusually lengthy lifecycles.
The all-new Fiat 500, only in electric, comes with a range of 320 km (WLTP range) and a top speed of 150 km/h. Unveiled last year, it retained the original design, but that doesn’t mean Fiat designers were lazy. In fact, to have a new generation in an electric platform without deviating from the original design is much more challenging. Fiat had released a video showcasing the development of the new electric 500 through several stages last year.
Though it remains true to the original design, the new Fiat 500 rides on a completely new electric platform, and it has a 42 kWh lithium-ion battery. The 500e, measuring 3.63 m long, 1.69 m wide, and 1.48 m tall, makes a maximum power of 118 hp and can go from 0 to 100 km/h in nine seconds, while the top speed is 150 km/h (limited). The battery can be charged to 80 per cent capacity in 35 minutes with an 85 kW fast charger.
The 500e gets ‘Infinity Design’ LED headlamps that split at the bonnet edges, a grille and bumper that is redone to stay true to the original yet look futuristic, and the 500 badge replacing the Fiat logo on the grille. The rear has new E-motif tail lamps and a more rounded-off tail section. Changes are more prominent inside with a revamped dashboard, with the new car looking nothing like its predecessor. The instrument cluster is a 7-inch digital unit, while the centre console gets a 10.25-inch touchscreen system with Uconnect multimedia support. The Uconnect system supports internet connectivity and is accessible via an app.
Key safety features include Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Assistant and Lane Control, Autonomous Emergency Brake with pedestrian and cyclist recognition, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Centering. The car comes with level 2 autonomous driving. The Fiat 500e’s prices start at £19,995 in the UK.
Abarth 500e in the works?
At the Stellantis EV Day 2021, Olivier Francois, CEO, Fiat, revealed that the Fiat 500e is the no.1 EV in Italy and the no.1 electric city car in ten countries. Fiat has sold 30,000 units of the 500e so far, and there’s a 70% conquest rate for the model. With the introduction of the Dacia Spring and next-generation electric city models such as the VW ID.2, Seat Urbano and the Renault 5, the 500e needs new tricks to maintain audience interest.
The Fiat 500e is available in three different body styles, and in the next few years, it could receive an Abarth variant. Francois said that Abarth will switch to electric powertrains in 2024. While he didn’t mention the nameplates in contention for the ‘hot’ version, the 500 and Abarth are inseparable and it is very likely that the performance brand would enter the EV segment with a souped-up 500e.