Fiat 500: the smartest electric car there is?

In what is undoubtedly a sign of the times, the new electric version of the Fiat 500 is creating a buzz. Out with the numbered series of the ‘La Prima’ convertible, which has already become a collector's item; in with the hatchback version, which is every bit as desirable.  

The timeless 500... No sooner did the limited-edition ‘La Prima’ sell out in its convertible version (the 500 units released in France flew out of the showrooms!) than the hatchback version appeared to be on course to achieve the same levels of success. With the same rounded lines as the previous generation, this icon of the global automotive industry is getting a facelift at a time when the emphasis is very much on sustainable, connected and autonomous mobility. Battery life and charging times are two of the key concerns among electric car users. According to Fiat, however, its lithium-ion batteries give it a range of up to 320km (199 miles), while its rapid charging system means it takes only 5 minutes to store enough energy to travel 50km (31 miles)- much more than the average day-to-day user would need. Best of all, the fast charger can recharge the battery to 80% in just 35 minutes.

On the driving front, this cute little Italian car has three driving modes - Normal, Range and Sherpa -, depending on the driving conditions. Sherpa mode optimises energy usage to ensure the driver reaches their destination (at a maximum speed limited to 80km/h (50mph) and with the air-conditioning turned off), while Normal mode, as its name suggests, is as close as possible to driving a vehicle with a normal combustion engine. Range mode, meanwhile, activates a function that will be further developed and is equivalent to driving with just one pedal, whereby releasing the accelerator causes a significant deceleration, almost as if you were pressing the brake (which must still be applied to bring the car to a complete stop). With a little experience, it is possible to drive using accelerator pedal alone, which becomes perfectly natural after a few days!

Perfectly capable of holding the road, the electric 500 can travel at 150km/h (93mph) and accelerate from 0 to 100km/h (62mph) in 9 seconds.

Highly connected and well-mannered

Style-wise, it is once again flawless. No need to dwell on the shape, which has become something of a cult figure on every continent. Clearly high-tech, the limited edition ‘La Prima’ hatchback comes with automatic emergency braking, a high-resolution rear-view camera, light sensors, the E-Call emergency call function and an electric parking brake as standard. But it also goes one step further with a driver assistance system that makes it the first city car to offer Level 2 Autonomous Driving; in other words, it brakes or accelerates on its own depending on traffic conditions and other road-users (cars, cyclists and pedestrians). Perfectly connected and clearly very well-mannered, it communicates with its driver, both inside and out, and allows them to select a route for their journey in advance and even activate the air-conditioning remotely. Not to mention the fact that their mobile phone will connect in 5 seconds once the door is opened.

The 100% #SoBARNES car does exist, and this is it!

The New 500 ‘La Prima’ hatchback, available in a limited edition of 500 units in France, is available to pre-order at €34,900 (price before government subsidies). An Easy Wallbox fast charger also comes as standard.

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