Fiat 500 Elektro (2021) in a practical test: From yesterday to today

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The little city runabout can surprise positively

Fiat 500 Elektro (2021) in a practical test: From yesterday to today-test

The lady at the Aldi parking lot is surprised and fascinated: "It is now also available as an electric car?" That's the way it is. A year ago, the brand caused a surprise with this Fiat 500. So far it looked as if the Italians had as much to do with electromobility as a Chianti producer with wheat beer.

Only insiders still know that years ago Fiat electrified the 500 for the US market, which turned out to be an economic disaster. Now everything should get better (and the current registration numbers prove Fiat right): The new, factually baptized 500 Elektro Although still looks like the combustion engine 500 and the model from 1957 similar, but uses a completely independent platform.

What is that?

Let's take a look at the dimensions of the Fiat 500 Elektro: There it has grown a little compared to the Cinquecento from 2007 without assuming Pavarotti dimensions. 3.63 meters in length is a good six centimeters more than before, and a good three centimeters in width, height and wheelbase (2,322 mm). The electric version remains small in a city-friendly way.

Picture gallery: Fiat 500 Elektro (2021) in a practical test

Fiat 500 Elektro (2021) in a practical test: From yesterday to today-practical

You can choose from the classic three-door, the 3 + 1 with a narrow additional door on the passenger side and the "convertible" with a roll-up roof. They are all available with 87 kW (118 PS) and 42 kWh batteries (37.3 kWh net). The 500 "Action" is still in the program as a price breaker for those who drive little. It is only available as a closed three-door model with 70 kW (95 PS) and 23.8 kWh battery (21.3 kWh net).

It is regulated at 135 km / h, the more powerful version at 150 km / h, both sprint to 50 km / h in just 3.1 seconds, up to 100 the "big" 500 is 0.5 seconds faster. The difference is clearer in the range: Fiat specifies up to 190 or 321 kilometers, in the city it should be 257 to 460 km.

How is he inside?

So much for the theory, I pull the fancy door handle and sit inside. Just look around: Aha, the rear of the 500 remains narrow, the rear is more for children. 185 liters of trunk space are also manageable, but the Fiat is also quite short. On the other hand, the electric version feels much more airy at the front because the massive center tunnel from the combustion engine 500 has been omitted.

The cockpit is clearly laid out and is of relatively high quality by Fiat standards, but this also depends on the equipment selected. Hard plastic corresponds to elements in the body color. One thing is certain: Here and outside, the 500 looks less puppy and playful, I like that. It's just a shame that Fiat has so far not been offering really bright colors.

The large buttons for selecting the speed levels in the cockpit take a bit of getting used to, while the large storage space under the center armrest and the clear central instrument are nice. I sit high, but not as much as in the previous 500 and, above all, no longer as "stool-like". Unusual: instead of a door opener there is a button. The infotainment with a 10.25-inch touchscreen could react a little faster.

How does he drive?

Andiamo, Ragazzi! Here we go! The acceleration is good, although there is no question of "volare" (flying). But as with so many electric cars, the seamless acceleration that (I already mentioned) is quite brisk up to 50 km / h is impressive. After that, the Fiat becomes a bit more normal, but you have to say: the best automatic 500 that has ever existed.

Since the small car is also nice and narrow at 1.68 meters, it mutates into the king of the city. With a view of the mounted 16-inch rims and the short wheelbase, the suspension comfort is absolutely fine. I would only expect more precision in the steering, it gives little feedback.

There are three driving modes to choose from: Normal (without recuperation), Range (with recuperation) and Sherpa (throttling to drag yourself to the next charging station). I mostly used "Range", also because one-pedal driving is pleasant in an urban environment.

Consumption and loading

What about consumption and charging? The more powerful 500 Elektro weighs a good 1.4 tons, of which the battery accounts for 294 kilograms. The "small" 500 only lugs around 182 kg, its battery also offers less storage. My average consumption with the 118 PS Fiat was between 15.9 and 16.2 kWh, the manufacturer officially calls it 14.0 to 14.4 kWh. My assessment: In everyday life, 14.5 to 15.0 kWh should be feasible.

A real plus point of the Fiat 500 Elektro, in every variant, is its standard capability for CCS fast charging. It is a maximum of 50 kW at the base, 85 kW for the more powerful versions. With the right quick charger, 80 percent of the battery can be recharged in just 35 minutes. A reserve of 50 kilometers can be tapped within five minutes.

We reached around 50 kW, inside was shown how long it would take to 80 and 100 percent. Good: Even at 99 percent, the charging power was still 12 kW. Preview from 47 to 80 percent: 19 minutes. "Fully fueled" was displayed with a range of 260 km (outside temperature 28 degrees), a deviation of a good 50 km compared to the WLTP factory specification.

The prices

And what does the Elektro-500 cost? The 42 kW variant, including good standard equipment, starts at 29,560 euros. The 3 + 1 costs at least 31,560 euros, the convertible 32,560 euros. So not a bargain, although of course 9,000 and a few squashed euros in bonuses can be deducted.

If you only move around town, you should definitely take a look at the 500 Action with a 23.8 kWh battery. With air conditioning, various assistants, CCS shop and keyless go, it costs only 23,560 euros. After premiums under 15,000 euros, which is closer to the original idea of ​​the 500. Let's see how interesting the leasing rates are …

Conclusion:

So many really small and at the same time fully-fledged electric cars are not even on the market. The Dacia Spring is cheaper and weaker than the Fiat 500 Elektro, the Renault Twingo Electric the Italian is superior to a Smart at similar prices. The VW e-Up is no longer really available. Inside and out, the new 500 is successful and independent, it drives well. The always-present quick-charging capability is very good.

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Our wish: brighter colors, the large battery with fewer standard equipment at a lower price. If you want to get a bargain, you should consider the "small" 500 Electric. Or the production version of the Fiat Centoventi wait, which is expected to come with similar technology in 2022. Until then we can say: Bravo, Fiat!

Fiat 500 Elektro Icon three-door (42 kWh)

engine Permanent magnet electric motor

power 87 kW (118 hp)

Max. Torque 220 Nm

drive Front wheel drive

Gear type 1-speed reduction gear

Acceleration 0-100 km / h 9.0 sec.

Top speed 150 km / h

length 3,632 mm

broad 1,683 mm

height 1,527 mm

Trunk volume 185 – 550 liters

Empty weight 1,365 kg (DIN)

Payload 400 kg

battery Lithium-ion, 96 cells in 2 modules, 42 kWh (gross) / 37.3 kWh (net)

Electric range 312 – 321 km, up to 460 km in urban areas (WLTP)

consumption 14.0 – 14.3 kWh / 100 km

Base price 29,560 euros

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