Abarth 500 EV to be brand’s first electric hot hatch

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98 fiat 500e

Upcoming Fiat 500-based hot hatch will be performance sub-division’s first EV

Fiat will confirm an Abarth performance variant of its electric 500 imminently ahead of a launch next year. This will be its first hot model since the Abarth 124 GT was launched in 2018.

The model will mark the beginning of Abarth as an electric go-faster subdivision of Fiat. Other models will also receive the Abarth treatment on a case-by-case basis. Brand boss Olivier François told us he expects to have between one and three Abarth models at any one time.

fiat abarth 500 ev

François said: “A year and a half ago, I said it can’t be that hard [to make an Abarth version of the electric 500]. Electric cars are so fun to drive already. The good news is that we are actively working on it, and once it’s confirmed, it will be relatively quick.

“The bad news is that it’s more complicated to deliver than I thought. If you want to do a real Abarth, it’s not the same electric powertrain. Once it has the power and torque you want, it’s no longer the same drivetrain, nor the same transmission or brakes… The whole thing has to be adapted.”

He added that final test drives are under way ahead of official confirmation of the car: “It’s going to be fantastic. The sound is going to be very interesting. There will be a choice to be silent or not.”

The Abarth fan community will play a crucial role in shaping the development of upcoming models, said François: “When it comes to marketing, it’s a totally different brand to Fiat. These [Abarth fans] would not buy a Fiat, and vice versa. It’s basically one car [the 500] and two totally different targets. We are going to leverage the community, involve them in the development. Social media is ideal for that.”

The electric 500 has a 0-100km/h time of 9.0sec, a top speed of 150km/h and a range of 320km. The upcoming Abarth version is likely to aim for that sprint in under 7.0sec and a top speed over 160km/h but will lose some range.

Rachel Burgess

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