Fiat 500 electric: next-generation supermini ditches petrol

Radical reinvention of Fiat’s icon will be an "urban Tesla" using a dedicated electric platform

The next-generation Fiat 500 city car will be an all-electric model, with a luxury-focused production version set to be revealed at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show.

Over two million examples of the Fiat 500 have been sold since its launch in 2005. However, the Italian company has decided to seize the initiative with the emergence of electric technology.

The new 500 won't be offered in petrol form, with electric the only option for the car’s increasingly upmarket customer base. It'll sport a fresh new look, too.

According to chief marketing officer Olivier Francois, a premium approach “is the way we will go with the EV 500".

“A new 500, totally renewed,” he continued. “A new object. Totally electric. It’s kind of an urban Tesla, with beautiful style. Italianess, dolce vita in an electric car. It’s the polar opposite of Centoventi.”

The Fiat Centoventi – an electric concept celebrating the 120th anniversary of the Italian company – was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show this week.

It previews the next-generation Panda supermini, offering extendable range and a high level of customisation to buyers.

It’s not clear if the forthcoming Panda and 500 would use the same platform, although Francois confirmed the latter would sit on an entirely new base, currently being developed by Fiat.

“It’s a new platform designed for electrification,” he said. “It makes the car radically different. It’s still a 500 – same size, same proportions – but it’s just not the same car. The 500 of the future”.

With the electric Fiat 500 set to take the luxury, premium path, it’s almost certain this approach will be reflected in the price tag. The current, internal-combustion-engined model starts from £12,010 in the UK, however the new car could command an asking price more in keeping with the pricier, limited-edition versions of the 500 offered in recent years.

Francois also confirmed that the current-generation Fiat 500 would continue to be sold, offering customers a cheaper route into ownership. Meanwhile, an Abarth version of the of the electric 500 hasn't been ruled out, although there are no plans for one at this stage.