New Fiat 500 Electric in Malaysia – hatchback and convertible, 320km EV range, 42kWh battery, from RM250k

Most talk about electric vehicles (EVs) is now about charging and range, and yes, it’s good to have fast charge rates and long range. But the reality is that even though they are currently tax free in Malaysia, EVs are not cheap and many are bought as toys – I doubt there are many EV users who don’t have no more than one ICE car at home. .

Speaking of home, surely most EV users have properties landing with home charging, which allows the EV to slowly replenish overnight, making a shorter range more acceptable. Longer trips can be made with the ICE fleet, leaving the EV to roam around town. Which makes me curious – why aren’t more EVs being bought just for the ‘fun’, as opposed to their technical capabilities? This applies to other classes of toys. What do you think?

Small and sleek, the Fiat 500 has to be the perfect city car, which in my opinion makes it the perfect base for an urban electric vehicle. That’s what Fiat did, although the “New 500” (that’s the official name) isn’t quite the familiar 500 with its ICE swapped for motor and batteries.

The New 500 aka 500 Electric was designed from the start to be an EV and is built separately from the regular 500 – in Turin, Italy against Poland for the ICE, which this EV does not replace. Revealed in 2020, the New 500 is 60mm longer and wider than the ICE 500, and its wheelbase is 20mm longer.

Between the wheels is a 42kWh lithium-ion battery that provides a range of 320km on the WLTP cycle. That’s not bad for a small car, and it comfortably beats the style icon-turned-EV MINI Cooper SE. The electric MINI comes with a 28.9 kWh battery and 232 km of WLTP range. It also trumps the Honda e’s claimed 220km range. Fiat claims that the New 500 travels up to 460 km in the pure urban cycle (the WLTP is combined).

As for charging, the 42kWh battery supports DC fast charging up to 85kW – Fiat claims that recharging up to 80% SOC takes 35 minutes, and just five minutes of fast charging will take you will earn a day of driving (50 km). For AC charging (CCS2 socket), a 3 kW cable is provided, while an 11 kW three-phase cable is optional, as is a wallbox.

On the performance side, the New 500’s unique 118 hp (87 kW) electric motor propels the little Fiat from 0 to 100 km/h in nine seconds, while the top speed is 150 km/h. More important for a city car, the 0-50 km/h takes just 3.1 seconds, thanks to the instantaneous torque. There is also a single-pedal drive mode.

The regular red and black sedans (not the 3+1) you see here are (RED) edition cars. Like (RED) iPhones, this partnership helps fight health emergencies like AIDS and, more recently, Covid-19. Each purchase of a (RED) car triggers a donation to the global fund.

Special exterior details include a 500 (RED) logo on the window line and red painted details (front and rear logos, mirror caps, clearly visible on the black car). Both of these units also come with the optional 16-inch wheels with red logos on the wheel covers.

Inside the (RED) cars you will find the 500 (RED) logo printed on the black fabric seats, which also have a Fiat monogram. The logos and piping are in contrasting red, which matches the red dashboard. Other red bits can be found on the steering wheel 500 logo, key fob and floor mats. The seats are partly made of Seaqual Marine Plastic, a raw material made from marine waste.

There is more. The cabin filter, the fabric of the seats, the leather of the steering wheel and the carpet in the boot have been treated with a biocidal substance that is highly effective against bacteria, viruses and fungi. There is also a “sanitizing glove box” with a UV-C lamp. Activate it by placing your small items (phone, keys, etc.) and pressing a button on the center console. The “sanitize cycle” will take three minutes and a blue indicator and chime will let you know when it is complete.

Fiat’s disclaimer states that the sanitizing glove box is not electronic sterilization equipment but merely helps to increase the surface hygiene of the goods. Clearly a car born in the times of Covid.

If you want to be unique, might as well go all the way? The white car that completes the trio is a convertible with blue fabric sliding hood and shortened trunk lid. It’s not a (RED) car like hardtop sedans, but a premium Icon model, which comes with goodies like 16-inch multi-spoke alloys, power door handle with electronic latch , a body-colored dashboard, 10.25-inch 2.5-inch touchscreen infotainment, and melange pinstripe cloth seats. Chic. By the way, find the photo of the interior door handle in the gallery below and see what’s inside.

Fascinated by this little slice of The good life? These three units of the electric Fiat 500 were brought by Hamza Motors, located in Kampung Sungai Penchala, just next to TTDI. Both sedans (RED) go for RM250k while the Cabrio is yours for an extra RM5,000.

Not cheap, of course, but Italian fashions aren’t known for maximum value for money. There’s a price to pay for exclusivity, and this design piece is iconic – Fiat has effortlessly transformed the 500 from ICE to electric without compromising on style. The EV spec is also very decent compared to top-tier peers such as the MINI Cooper SE and Honda e. Parallel importers are also selling the latter for over RM200k.

Which pretty electric sedan do you prefer? That of Italy, England or Japan? Click on the links above to check them out and decide.

GALLERY: Fiat New 500 (RED) Edition

GALLERY: Fiat New 500 Cabrio

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