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New Fiat 500 Hybrid

source: Fiat [image shows the Fiat 500e]

Published 28 May 2024

A Beloved Icon Gets a Modern Twist

Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, the automotive giant that owns Fiat, has announced plans to produce a hybrid version of the iconic Fiat 500e. This news comes amidst a slowdown in electric vehicle (EV) sales growth, prompting Stellantis to diversify the 500’s offerings.

Boosting Production at Mirafiori

The new Fiat 500 Hybrid will be built at the Mirafiori factory in Turin, Italy, alongside the existing fully-electric 500e. This decision follows months of discussions between Stellantis and Italian union representatives who advocated for increased production at the historic Fiat plant. A hybrid option caters to a wider range of consumer needs, potentially boosting overall 500 sales figures.

Adapting to the EV Landscape

The slowdown in EV sales is attributed to various factors. Soaring battery material costs and underdeveloped charging infrastructure in some regions have dampened consumer enthusiasm. The hybrid 500 caters to those who might be hesitant to fully commit to an EV due to range anxiety or lack of convenient charging options.

Strategic Advantages of a Hybrid 500

This strategic move by Stellantis offers several advantages. Firstly, it allows them to leverage existing production facilities for the 500, optimizing resources. Secondly, it broadens the 500’s customer base by appealing to those who prefer a gasoline-electric combination. Hybrids offer both the environmental benefits of electric propulsion for shorter trips and the convenience of a gasoline engine for longer journeys.

Looking Ahead: Launch Date and Specifications

The exact launch date and specifications of the Fiat 500 Hybrid remain undisclosed. However, union leader Ferdinando Uliano, who met with Tavares, expects production to begin in the first quarter of 2026. Industry publications estimate Stellantis aims for a total annual output of 200,000 500s, with 125,000 being hybrids. This signifies a significant production increase compared to the previous year.

Mixed Reactions: Environmental Concerns vs Consumer Appeal

The announcement has generated mixed reactions. Environmental advocates acknowledge the hybrid’s role in reducing emissions compared to traditional gasoline vehicles. However, they emphasize the continued importance of prioritizing full electrification for a sustainable future.

For Fiat enthusiasts, the hybrid presents a new and potentially more affordable option to own the classic car. The 500’s popularity stems from its charming design, manoeuvrability, and affordability. The hybrid version is likely to retain these core qualities while offering improved fuel efficiency and potentially a lower price tag compared to the fully-electric 500e.

A New Chapter for the Iconic 500

The Fiat 500 Hybrid marks a strategic shift for Stellantis, adapting to the evolving automotive landscape. It caters to a broader audience while keeping production in Italy, a move likely to be welcomed by the workforce and the Italian government. Whether the hybrid 500 reignites consumer passion for the iconic car remains to be seen, but it undoubtedly injects a new chapter into the 500’s long and storied legacy.

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