Fiat-Chrysler marketing boss Olivier Francois described the new 500e as, "A new 500, totally renewed. A new object. Totally electric. It's kind of an urban Tesla, with beautiful style. Italianess, dolce vita in an electric car. It's the polar opposite of Centoventi."
The Italian carmaker doesn't sell the 500e in Europe. Fiat's starting its electric push there with the new 500e because it wants to enter the market at the low end of pricing. That segment is also where the brand happens to be strongest; Autocar wrote that the 500 and Fiat Panda account for a third of the city car market. Since the new Fiat 500 arrived 12 years ago, more than 2 million have been sold in Europe alone.
Although an Italian buyer can purchase a Fiat 500 Pop for 14,350 euros (about $16,300), Francois said the average transaction price is 24,000 euros ($27,250). The competition in the urban EV segment sells for around 32,000 euros, leaving Fiat room to make a digestible price jump from what buyers pay now for ICE versions. More competition is on the way, too, with Mini's electric Cooper coming this year, and Honda's rocking little Urban EV soon.
Fiat takes an intermediate step later in 2019 when a 500 with a mild hybrid system goes on sale. That model employs a 12-volt belt-driven starter-generator. The current 500 with internal combustion will continue alongside the electric variant with stylistic and technical updates.
The coming 500e platform, developed at FCA, is called the City Car powertrain. It will be joined by three more EV chassis — the Mainstream platform for the Jeep Grand Commander, the Premium platform for the Maserati Quattroporte, and the Performance' platform for the Maserati Alfieri.