Fiat 500-based Abarth electric hot hatch is in final development phase before official reveal.
Fiat’s performance brand Abarth is about to reveal a Fiat 500 Electric-based hot hatchback as its debut EV, and first all-new model for six years.
After the first spy shots of the Mini Electric rival surfaced last week, the Italian car maker has now confirmed it will take the wraps off on Tuesday 22 November in Europe.
The camouflaged prototype seen recently looked to be a lower, wider variant of Fiat’s electric supermini – also wearing a revised front bumper and a chunky rear spoiler.
The car will mark the beginning of Abarth’s transition into an electrified go-faster sub-division of Fiat. Other models will receive the treatment on a case-by-case basis. Brand boss Olivier François told Automotive Daily network partner Autocar earlier this year that he expects to have between one and three Abarth models at any one time.
François said at the time: “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 were 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 Fiat 500 has a 0-100km/h time of 9.0sec, a top speed of 148km/h and a range of 320km. The upcoming Abarth version is likely to aim for that sprint in under 7.0sec with a top speed over 160km/h, but at the cost of some range.