In an age where you can get lighted belt buckles on a car (take a bow, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class), the new Fiat 500 Electric does without the radio.
Let it sink in for a moment. In the Action version, although the basic level, you have to plug in your phone to listen to music. Fiat isn’t the first to exploit this, but for a car so focused on style and youthful appeal, it indicates something of where we might be heading in the future.
and you know what? It works wonderfully.
This is the new entry-level 500, with a 94-horsepower electric motor powering the front wheels. In the Action version, there is a 23.8kWh battery on the ground, providing a total range of 118 miles, 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds and a top speed of 84mph.
Charging times are as little as 30 minutes if you connect to a 50kW DC charger, while a 7kW home charger will do it in six hours.
There are three driving modes to choose from, all operated with a simple toggle switch. Normal does what it implies, as does Range, while Sherpa is a homecoming mode at all costs, reducing top speed to achieve maximum range.
A 42 kWh battery is also available, offering a total range of 199 miles and more punchy acceleration. But it does make the 500-150 kg heavier, so there is something appealing about the purity of the Action.
Unlike rivals like the Honda E and the Mini Electric, you can also buy the 500 Electric as a laundry, but not as an Action version.
For now, the 500 Electric has a single platform, but you have a feeling it won’t be long before Stellantis looks to make it work on more cars under its corporate umbrella. Fiat itself recognizes that it is a flexible platform with a wheelbase that can be extended, thus increasing its transversality.
Interestingly, the gasoline 500, which was recently updated with mild hybrid engines, will continue to be sold. Fiat has yet to put an end date on this car, although it is suspected that it will quietly be allowed to die as more people switch to the electric version.
The electric 500 is slightly longer, wider, and taller than the older 500, but it’s still a small car that is easy to slip into a city. And despite the growth, rear seat space is still at a premium. Adults will find their place there, but they will not thank you for a long trip.
The rest of the interior is a lesson in simplicity, especially in the Action trim. The unique rounded dial keeps information to a minimum (speed, power flow, and range) and satellite radio / navigation is your phone sitting in a dash mounted cradle.
Fortunately, there are still physical buttons. The radio volume is a rotary knob down near your knee and the climate controls are all halfway up the dash. This shows that light switches don’t necessarily create a messy interior.
In a very Fiat signature, there are nice design touches inside, like the Turin skyline silhouetted on the dashboard trunk and the old 500 outline sketch in the door handles.
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This notice was published: 2021-05-21 09:22:23