The new Fiat 500e is officially coming to the United States. The automaker made the announcement at a press conference at the 2022 Los Angeles auto show.
Fiat's first 500e EV went on sale in 2012, built as a conversion of the gasoline-powered 500. That model was discontinued for the US along with the rest of the 500 line in the 2019 model year. While Fiat launched the New 500 EV in Europe in 2020, that model never went on sale in the United States. However, North America is getting a new all-electric 500e, slated to go on sale in early 2024. The US model will get a full reveal at next year's 2023 Los Angeles Auto Show.
No specifications were released by Fiat for the upcoming North American model. However, the European New 500 may serve as a guide for what is to come. The EV was originally available as a two-door cabriolet, with a three-door hatch delivered later on. Fiat shipped the vehicle with 24 kWh and 42 kWh batteries, good for 115 miles and 199 miles of range, respectively. Power output is 94 hp or 117 hp, depending on the powertrain chosen. Given US market tastes, expect the North American model to feature power and range towards the higher end, perhaps even exceeding that of the European model.
Present for the announcement were three one-off designer examples which Fiat first showed off at the 2020 launch of Europe's New 500. Armani, Kartell and Bvlgari delivered customized versions of the EV hatch. The intention of the builds was to "embody the Italian spirit" and demonstrate the "three souls" of the new model: sustainable design, sustainable fashion, and sustainable luxury.
The 500 Giorgio Armani features bold "GA" logo wheels, with the designer's initials also adorning the leather seats. It also sports distinctive amber windows that match the bronze badging on the bodywork. Finished in a unique matt "Scarab Green" finish, the body also features a laser-etched chevron pattern to add texture.
The exterior also scores a striking chevron grille up front. Inside, there's reconstituted wood paneling on the dash paired with aluminum detail inserts. It's a car complete with all the exquisite details you'd expect to find on an expensive designer handbag, and it really works.
Kartell is a well-regarded Italian industrial designer and applied its fine touch to the new 500e. The vehicle exterior combines glass, rubber, plastic, fabric and metal all finished in the same shade of Kartell blue, derived from the well-known shade of Yves Klein blue. The paintwork has a reflective "ecochrome" finish, with the Fiat and Kartell logos highlighted in contrasting polycarbonate plastic.
Inside, recycled plastic fabrics are used for the upholstery. The seats use the same materials Kartell uses for its current furniture collection. The dashboard uses recycled polycarbonate plastics, with a pattern inspired by the famous Kartell Kabuki lamp.
Bvlgari took a high-concept approach to the vehicle with its B.500 "MAI TROPPO" design. It's finished in a searing orange tone, infused with gold dust. The wheels are inspired by the Bvlgari star emblem, and the badging around the vehicle is all gold-plated. The grille features the brand's "Parentesi" pattern commonly featured on the brand's jewelry.
Inside, Bvlgari applied lashings of patterned foulard silk to the interior. The seats are made of zero-impact leather, with a similarly-striking graphic design on inlay panels. Precious gemstones adorn the steering wheel badging, too. These could potentially be a risk in an airbag deployment, but fancy concepts rarely have to worry about such things. It also includes a special hatbox and jewelry case, and the golden key to the vehicle is intended to be worn as jewelry if so desired.
The US market hasn't played host to many small EVs. Enthusiasts have often decried that the country misses out on vehicles like the New 500 and the Honda e. However, tides are changing. The Chevrolet Bolt is now selling in serious numbers after some time away. Plus, it's likely that high gas prices will drive adoption of EVs, particularly smaller, cheaper, efficient models. Thus, the time seems ripe for the new Fiat 500e to burst onto the scene.
Got a tip? Let the author know: [email protected]