Sergio Marchionne famously told consumers not to buy the Fiat 500e, but the brand hasn’t given up on the slow selling model. Quite the opposite actually as Fiat is working on a new version which was recently spotted by spy photographers.
Dressed in heavy camouflage, the prototype has a familiar design but appears to adopt slimmer side skirts. The front and rear fascias are also heavily disguised and this suggests there could be extensive changes hiding underneath.
While spy shooters couldn’t get close enough to snap interior pictures, there’s visible camouflage on the dashboard. This suggests there could be a handful of interior updates, but there’s no word on specifics.
The styling changes appear to be minor, but executives have previously said the car will be “totally renewed.” FCA’s chief marking officer, Olivier François, has also stated “It’s kind of an urban Tesla, with beautiful style. Italianess, dolce vita in an electric car.”
Specifications remain unconfirmed, but the current 500e has a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack which sends power to an electric motor that develops 111 hp (83 kW / 113 PS) and 147 lb-ft (199 Nm) of torque. Of course, the biggest downside is a dismal range of 84 miles (135 km/h).
If the range wasn’t bad enough, the Fiat 500e costs $32,995 before incentives. That makes the model more expensive than more practical options such as the Nissan Leaf which starts at $29,990 and has a range of up to 150 miles (241 km).
Regardless, the 2020 Fiat 500e will be built on a new assembly line at the company’s Mirafiori plant in Italy. FCA has already confirmed the first pre-production models will be made later this year and road-ready variants will follow in the second quarter of 2020. The plant will be able to build 80,000 units annually, but FCA has suggested that number could increase if needed.