Most discussions about electric vehicles (EV) now revolve around charging and range, and yes it’s good to have fast charge rates and long range. But the reality is that while EVs are currently tax-free in Malaysia, they don’t come cheap and many are bought as toys – I doubt there are many EV users who don’t have more than one ICE car at home.
Speaking of the home, surely most EV users have properties with home charging capabilities that allow the EV to slowly recharge overnight, making a shorter range more acceptable. Longer journeys can be made with the ICE fleet, leaving the EV to travel around the city. Which makes me curious – why aren’t more electric vehicles being bought for “fun” as opposed to their technical capabilities? This also applies to other toy classes. What do you think?
Small and sleek, the Fiat 500 has to be the perfect city car, which makes it – in my opinion – the perfect basis for an urban electric vehicle. That’s what Fiat did, although the “New 500” (that’s the official name) isn’t quite the well-known 500, with the ICE swapped out for a motor and batteries.
Designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle, the New 500 aka 500 Electric will be built separately from the regular 500 – in Turin, Italy, against Poland for the ICE, which this EV will not replace. Launched in 2020, the New 500 is 60mm longer and wider than the ICE 500, and its wheelbase is 20mm longer.
Between the wheels is a 42kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which is good for 320km of range on the WLTP cycle. That’s not bad for a tiny car, and it comfortably beats its style icon EV MINI Cooper SE. The electric MINI comes with a 28.9 kWh battery and a WLTP range of 232 km. It also trumps the Honda e’s claimed range of 220 km. Fiat says the New 500 can do up to 460 km on a pure city cycle (WLTP is combined).
As for charging, the 42kWh battery supports DC fast charging up to 85kW. Fiat says that charging to 80% SOC takes 35 minutes, and just five minutes of fast charging will get you a day’s drive (50km). For normal AC charging (CCS2 socket) a 3kW cable is supplied, a three-phase 11kW cable is optional, as is a wallbox.
In terms of performance, the New 500’s 118 PS (87 kW) electric motor accelerates the little Fiat from 0 to 100 km/h in nine seconds, while the top speed is 150 km/h. More importantly for a city car, 0-50 km/h takes just 3.1 seconds thanks to the instant torque. There’s also a single-pedal drive mode.
The red and black regular hatchbacks (not the 3+1) you see here are (RED) edition cars. Like (RED) iPhones, this partnership is helping to combat health emergencies such as AIDS and, more recently, Covid-19. Every purchase of a (RED) car triggers a donation to the global fund.
Distinctive exterior details include a 500 (RED) logo on the window line and red painted details (front and rear logos, mirror caps clearly visible on the black car). Both units also come with the optional 16-inch wheels with red logos on the hubcaps.
Inside the (RED) cars you’ll find the 500 (RED) logo printed on the black fabric seats, which also feature a Fiat monogram. The logos and piping are finished in a contrasting red that matches the red dashboard. Additional red bits can be found on the steering wheel 500 logo, key fob and floor mats. The seats are partly made of Seaqual Marine Plastic, a raw material made from marine litter.
there is more The interior air filter, seat cover, steering wheel leather and trunk carpet are treated with a biocidal agent that is highly effective against bacteria, viruses and fungi. RED vehicles have the option of a “sanitizing glove box” with a UV-C lamp, but this feature was not specified on these units.
By the way, to activate this function, put your small items (phone, keys, etc.) in the glove compartment and press a button in the center console. The “sanitization cycle” lasts three minutes and a blue indicator and beep will let you know when it’s complete. Clearly a car born in the days of Covid.
If you want to be unique, might as well go all the way? The white car that completes the trio is a convertible with a blue fabric sliding roof and a shortened boot lid. This isn’t a (RED) car like the hardtop hatchbacks, but a highly specialized Icon model, outfitted with extras like 16-inch multi-spoke alloys, power door handle with E-latch, body-colored dashboard, 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment and mottled Pinstripe cloth seats. However, the three cars here are not equipped with LED headlights.
Intrigued by this little piece the dolce vita? These three units of electric Fiat 500 were introduced by Hamza Motors, based in Kampung Sungai Penchala right next to TTDI. The two (RED) hatchbacks are RM250,000, while the convertible is yours for an additional RM5,000.
Not cheap, of course, but Italian millinery isn’t known for its maximum value for money (find the pic of the inside door handle in the gallery below and see what’s inside). Exclusivity comes at a price, and this design piece is iconic – Fiat has effortlessly converted the 500 from an internal combustion engine to an electric drive without compromising its style. The EV specs are actually very decent too compared to design-first peers like the MINI Cooper SE and Honda e. Parallel importers also offer the latter for over RM 200,000.
Which cute electric hatchback would you rather have? The ones from Italy, England or Japan? Click on the links above to view and decide.
GALLERY: Fiat New 500 (RED) Edition
GALLERY: Fiat New 500 Cabrio