The Return Of The Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 On Display At The 2022 LA Auto Show
The Italian Automaker Introduces Its Second-Generation Electric Car to the USA
By John Grafman
Wed, Nov 23, 2022 09:42 PM PST
All photos by John Grafman
Fiat? This is the brand that the public and the press almost forgot about. A lack of fresh product is troubling. The USA sales for the 500 could be considered a rounding error compared to the global market, which might explain the lack of attention.
But fret not more. CEO Olivier Francois is not only introducing a new 500e, but he’s also emphasizing the sustainability.
It’s not like Fiat didn’t have an electric 500 before. But now, kiss the gas burning variant arrivederci. The decision to have a dedicated electric platform has a couple important ramifications. First, the engineers created better use of space and thereby allowing for more battery. That allows for greater range, power, or both. Secondly, the batteries and weight are down lower and that improves handling. This could have a range of 150 miles, a leap forward from the prior gen.
Glancing at the new version, destined to hit our shores in America in the first quarter of 2024, this does look more than a little familiar. Yet, Ralph Gilles, chief design overlord of the Stellantis group, points out that when side-by-side the two appear related but distinct. The bulging fender flairs are just one indicator.
Leading the charge (no pun intended), are three concepts. Fiat leans in on styling by having Armani, Kartell and Bvlgari showcase the talent from each. The Bvlgari dazzles with a paint job featuring real gold dust. Armani dresses the little Fiat in Scarab Green - a new color we can argue about: is it black or gray or green? Kartell provides its vision, but with less flash. It is intriguing to see how each has handled the project, and the visual details.
No price has been announced yet on the production model, but don’t be surprised if the cost for a slice of Italy runs around $35K. In contrast, the endless smiles are priceless.
About The Author
John Grafman spent far too much of his youth thriving on the canyons that connect the valley to Malibu. This antisocial behavior has evidentially scarred him for life. Nevertheless, using his powers for good rather than evil, John has spent the past dozen or so years working on models for numerous automotive design studios on the west coast. You’ve seen his work on the exterior and interiors of some of your favorite concept and production cars. You can now see his imprint throughout LA CAR.