Fiat 500 goes electric and heads for a 200-mile range

  • Battery-only Fiat 500 revealed with 200-mile range
  • Same-again looks, but all-new tech under the skin
  • Could be expensive when it comes to the UK

The long-awaited Fiat 500 Electric has been revealed for the first time – and the headlines are its excellent (potential) 200-mile range, fast charging capability and an impressive suite of driver-assistance technology.

It joins a rapidly growing selection of battery-powered city cars. As well as the long-established Renault Zoe, which has just been launched in facelifted form, it faces other newcomers including the MINI Electric, super-cute Honda e and the impressive Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e cousins. A year ago, it would have just just been up against the Renault Zoe and Smart EQ Forfour.

The third-generation 500 is described as an all-new car, even though it looks very similar to the existing car. Why mess with a winning formula?

Old styling, completely new metal

Fiat 500 Electric (2020) interior view

Although it looks the same, the new 500 receives new flush headlights and a tidied-up front end. It's larger than the old model too, measuring in at 6cm wider and 6cm longer than before. There's also 2cm more between the front and rear wheels, and Fiat claims that the new 500 Electric is a lot roomier inside than before.

Inside, the 500 Electric is packed with updated technology. It now comes with the option of intelligent adaptive cruise control, which combines automatic lane-keeping and a pre-defined distance between you and the car ahead. You also get Autonomous Emergency Braking and 360-degree parking cameras. The 10.25in infotainment system gives you Apple Carplay and Android Auto as well.

What about range and charging?

Fiat has ensured that those with range anxiety won’t have anything to moan about with the new 500 Electric. It comes with a large 42kWh battery for a 200-mile range in official WLTP testing, and it’s quick to top up thanks to a built-in 85kW fast charger.

Fiat says that if you plug it into a public fast charger, it’ll take just five minutes add 30 miles of range, and to take it from (near-) empty to 80% takes 35 minutes. It should work on all public chargers thanks to being compatible with AC and DC set-ups.

It will certainly feel nippy around town. Maximum power is 118hp (87kW), and that makes it one of the quicker-accelerating 500s you can buy. The 0-62mph time is 9.0 seconds, and 0-30mph takes a hot hatch-like 3.1 seconds. Maximum speed is limited to 87mph.

Fiat 500 Electric (2020) front view

What about home charging?

Most electric car buyers do the majority of their charging at home, and Fiat has this covered. If you buy the launch edition of the Fiat 500 Electric, you get a free wallbox thrown in – and it has a ‘plug and charge’ set-up that can be controlled via your smartphone. The advantage of Fiat’s homecharger is that you don’t need to have it professionally installed – it comes with 3kW out of the box.

For those with decent wiring at home, the wallbox can be upgraded to 7.4kW, allowing you to fully charge the 500 Electric in a little over six hours from empty. The 500 Electric also comes with a cable for charging at up to 11kW from a public charge point.

What this means for you

If you want one, and we could understand why, you're going to have quite a wait. We don't know the UK price yet, but we do know that the 500 Electric will be initially available in La Prima Convertible launch edition, which gets LED headlights, eco-leather upholstery and 17in alloys as standard. As per usual, the launch edition will be limited in numbers – in this case, 500.

The La Prima Convertible comes in at €37,900 (£32,970) in Italy, and UK pricing will be announced later. If that's a guide then that makes it surprisingly expensive, especially compared with the MINI Electric Hatch. Does that make it worth the wait compared with its new rivals, especially the painfully cute Honda e?

If you do want one, and the prospect of a high cash price hasn't put you off, Fiat hasn't confirmed a UK delivery date but we hear that first deliveries won't take place until January 2021.

Fiat 500 Electric (2020) rear view