Motoring News

Electrifying Fiat: Famous 500 finds future fortunes fine

  • World launch of first fully-electric Fiat 500
  • Third generation ‘still a Cinquecento’
  • ‘Time to take action to create a better future’

MILAN, Italy – FCA has launched its first zero-emissions electric car, a Fiat 500 without a petrol cap, here in Milan with the brand hoping it will change the face of international motoring as radically as did the first versions of the petrol 500 to give four-wheeled mobility to thousands back in the 1960’s.

The second generation, Fiat says, came in 2007 and turned into a fashion item and, its maker says, ‘’has been the linchpin of more than 30 special series which conquered the world.

ELECTRIC BABY CARS BORN: FCA’s Fiat arm has created some seriously tech-savvy Fiat 500 electric cars that can recharge in a few minutes. Image: Supplied

‘’Now there’s a third generation of the Fiat 500,’’ Fiat says, ‘’that is once again at the fore, bringing with it design and driving pleasure. A reincarnation of a spirit, something iconic and beautiful.’’

Range and charging times, Fiat says, are key issues for customers, so the cars’ lithium-ion batteries have a capacity of 42kWh and a potential range of up to 320km and each vehicle will be equipped with an 85kW fast charger – five minutes, Fiat says, is long enough to store sufficient energy for 50km – that should get you to work…

FULL CHARGE IN SIX HOURS

35 minutes is said to be long enough for 80% and home-charging solutions are also available: the launch units will, in Italy at least, be delivered with an Easy WallboxT that can be connected to a domestic plug and was developed especially for Fiat – a simple “plug-and-charge” solution that, the automaker says, ‘’can be managed easily via Bluetooth’’.

The basic 3kW unit can be changed for a 7.4kW that will fully recharge in six hours while its owner sleeps.

OLD AND THE NEW: The resemblance is plain but The Corner sees the new Fiat 500 as storming the global auto market. Image: Fiat

The New 500 has three driving modes:Normal, Range, and Sherpa – that last mode, Fiat says, ‘’optimises battery charge to ensure a given destination will be reached with given resources and satnav’’ – including any stop for a further charge on a longer journey.

The motor can make 87kW and take the little Fiat to 150km/h. Acceleration to 100km/h will take nine seconds and accelerate from 0-100km/h in nine seconds or, in the city, from 0-50km/h in 3.1.

READ MORE Fiat features on Carman’s Corner

There’s a fair whack of tech, too… a front-facing camera will monitor longitudinally and laterally and self-braking cruise control will respond even to the presence of cyclists and pedestrians while the car maintains its lane parameters.

Further, ‘’speed assist’’ will recognise speed limits and apply them while ultrasonic sensors monitor blind spots and warn of any obstacles by flashing a warning light on the relevant external mirror. Attention Assist will warn the driver of fatigue by measuring eye movement.

Lastly, 360° sensors will monitor obstacles in a difficult parking situation.

SHADES OF THE FIRST CINQUECENTO: The resemblance to the first Fiat 500 of six decades ago is plain but the tech inside was not even in science fiction comics back then. Image: Fiat

The third-generation 500 will come with a ‘’customisable’’ Android Auto operating system to configure how functions and apps are displayed. Apple CarPlay is already available wirelessly. The system is also ready to offer the same functionality for Android Auto and can accommodate any cellphone, repeating its screen on a

In short, the New 500 offers seamless integration with your smartphone, offering a 26cm, high-definition, touchscreen and – in Europe at least – UConnect 5 will handle an emergency call function and a long list of function will cover breakdown calls, battery charge, tyre pressures and other mobile functions, service schedule, satnav, and vehicle security.

AUTONOMOUS DRIVING-READY

Oh yes, and all those can be done through voice control as well as infotainment choices and aircon.

The Corner will tell you about future models as and when they are released but the launch units will also have diode headlights, ‘’eco-leather’’ upholstery, 17″ diamond-cut wheel rims, and chromed inserts on the windows and side panels and future models will be equipped for autonomous driving.

QUICK ON THE ROAD, FAST TO CHARGE: The 2020 Fiat 500 is no slouch on the road and probably leads the way in recharging time, too. Image: Fiat

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