U.S. fans of the Fiat 500 can look forward to a new, fully electric generation of the pint-sized hatchback in early 2024.
Fiat made a formal announcement later on Thursday at the 2022 Los Angeles auto show, where it will present three one-off examples of the car with designs inspired by famous Italian fashion and lifestyle brands Armani, Bulgari, and Kartell.
The 500 was last sold in the U.S. in 2019, in both gas and 500e electric guises. A redesigned, fully electric 500 was launched overseas in 2021, and this third-generation model is the version that will launch here in in 2024, badged 500e.
“The new 500e is more than a car, it is a social project to feed America's appetite for change toward sustainable mobility,” Olivier Francois, Fiat's CEO, said in a statement. “We want to introduce America to EVs with our icon, the Fiat 500, because this is the right thing to do.”
New Fiat 500e
The U.S.-spec 500e will make its debut in a year's time at the 2023 L.A. auto show, at which time Fiat is likely to have a feisty Abarth version ready, though it isn't clear whether the Abarth will also be available in the U.S.
The new electric 500 is slightly larger than the previous, second-generation model. It measures about 2.4 inches longer and wider. The wheelbase has also been stretched by 0.8 inches, which should translate to more space in the cabin.
In Europe, the biggest battery offered is a 42-kwh unit, but a bigger battery may end up in the U.S.-spec 500e. The European version also has a maximum output of 117 hp.
Production is handled exclusively at parent company Stellantis' Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy. The plant was recently given an $800 million upgrade to prepare it for EV production, including future EVs from fellow Stellantis brand Maserati.