Fiat 500 with electric drive in the test: The Cinquecento that we have been waiting for

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500 e with a chic look and a lot of driving fun, but also a few disadvantages

Fiat 500 with electric drive in the test: The Cinquecento that we have been waiting for-electric

There it is, the Fiat 500 with electric drive. But wait a minute, hasn't that already existed? Yes, but for that we have to go back to 2013 and look to California, because the Fiat 500 Electric, made in Mexico, was offered there – with a range of 160 kilometers.

In 2020 the electric 500 finally arrived in Europe. However, apart from the name, it has nothing in common with its transatlantic cousin. This is a whole new generation of the Fiat 500; The car is only available with an electric drive and it will be offered (at least for a certain time) in parallel with the normal Fiat 500, which has been in the catalog since 2015. Since Fiat felt the wind of electrification only late, the new 500 e now has to face a number of competitors. So is the 500 e too late? We tested it.

Exterior: Significantly larger and quite chic

Our first impression was: This is no longer the "yoghurt cup" of yore. He's grown quite a bit. The new generation is six centimeters longer and six centimeters wider, which is quite a bit for a car that is only 3.63 meters long.

Chance encounter with the original 500: The dimensions have changed a lot.

That being said, the 500 e is still a Fiat 500 with a nice face and chic retro look. The new interpretation of the design has succeeded, from the ingenious headlights, which are now in two parts and work with LED technology, to the slightly protruding indicators on the front fenders, to the matt paintwork of our test vehicle. Chrome parts and large 17-inch rims give our car a chic and confident appearance.

Fiat 500 with electric drive in the test: The Cinquecento that we have been waiting for-drive

Cockpit: modern and with good materials

Inside, too, the 500 e is a revolution. It has become modern. Because what we notice first are the displays, one for the instruments, the other for the infotainment. No more round speedometer. Only the hood above the instruments is reminiscent of the old 500. But there are also a few buttons: a row above for air conditioning and one below for driving modes P, R, N and D. The rounded element that extends over the The entire width of the dashboard gives the impression of being in a larger car: very well done.

The 500 e also makes a leap forward in terms of workmanship and materials. Here we are in the premium area. And there is plenty of storage space everywhere, for example in the center armrest. In addition, the floor between the two front seats is almost completely flat, so that you can stow a handbag there, for example. The hole in the middle of the dashboard is perfect for storing the smartphone, which is charged there by induction. Very convenient.

Suitability for everyday use: Little space in the rear

A side note is the lack of a volume control. There is one, but it's on the right behind the steering wheel. Also, there are a few buttons on the steering wheel too many.

In terms of everyday suitability, however, the car remains a Fiat 500. There seems to be a little more elbow room in the rear, but the rear leg room remains minimal. Access to the rear is also difficult. The 500 offers a remedy for the latter point in the form of the 3 + 1 version with a rear door that opens in opposite directions.

The trunk offers 185 liters, as in the normal Fiat 500 of the old generation. The seat of our test vehicle can be folded down in a 50/50 ratio. The resulting loading floor is not really even. After all, a double floor in the trunk accommodates the charging cable.

Drive and chassis

After just a few meters, one wonders why the Fiat 500 wasn't converted to electric drive earlier. You can immediately feel the differences to the conventional Fiat 500. Of course there is no more engine noise, but above all the car is apparently well soundproofed, even if some wind noise comes from behind.

Fiat 500 with electric drive in the test: The Cinquecento that we have been waiting for-drive

Our test model is not the entry-level version with 70 kW and 24 kWh battery, but the more powerful one. The menu includes 87 kW (118 PS) and 220 Newton meters of torque, which are transmitted to the front wheels. The 42 kWh battery provides a range of around 300 kilometers.

The 500 e offers very comfortable driving characteristics, the car looks lively and the steering is precise. This makes scurrying through the city even easier than with the normal 500.

We try out the different driving modes that you choose in addition to the electric parking brake. The range mode increases the recuperation so that you only have to take your foot off the accelerator to slow down. The brake is hardly needed anymore. This function is particularly useful in the city. You quickly learn the correct dosage and then always come to a stop in the right place. After switching back to normal mode, however, you should be careful – the weaker recuperation can come as a surprise.

We couldn't test the range to the last electron, but the electric Fiat 500 should easily manage between 200 and 250 kilometers. And that even though the outside temperature was no higher than 5 degrees during our test drive.

Conclusion

The new Fiat 500 e is aesthetically very successful and it looks as if it had been designed for electric drive from the start. Since it is slightly larger than the older generation, the interior space is also decent. The driving behavior is very good, the car is fun and pleasant to drive. This is hands down the best Fiat 500 yet.

As far as prices are concerned, the Fiat 500 with electric drive starts at 23,560 euros (German list price, with 19% VAT). For this price you get the action version with the small 24 kWh battery and a specified range of 180 km (WLTP). For the 42 kWh version you pay at least 27,560 euros.

+ chic look
+ lots of driving fun, comfortable chassis
+ long range with the 42 kWh version

– poor visibility to the side to the rear
– small and hard-to-reach rear seats
– high price

Picture gallery: Fiat 500 e (2020)

Fiat 500 with electric drive in the test: The Cinquecento that we have been waiting for-drive

Fiat 500 e 42 kWh Passion

engine Permanent magnet electric motor

power 87 kW (118 hp)

Max. Torque 220 Nm

drive Front wheel drive

Gear type Automatic entrance

battery 42 kWh gross / 37 kWh net

Electric range 320 km (WLTP)

consumption 14 kWh / 100 km

Charging port 11 kW AC, 85 kW DC

Charging time DC: 35 min (0-80%) / AC: not specified

Acceleration 0-100 km / h 9.0 sec.

Top speed 150 km / h

length 3,632 mm

broad 1,683 mm

height 1,527 mm

Number of seats 4th

Trunk volume 185-550 liters

Empty weight 1,440 kg (EU standard, with 75 kg for the driver)

Payload 325 kg (based on the EU curb weight)

Base price 27,560 euros

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