Electric Abarth 500: plug-in hot hatchback nears production

The first EV from Fiat’s performance sub brand will share its underpinnings with the Fiat 500 Electric

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  • Abarth model to be based on the Fiat 500 EV
  • More power and aggressive styling
  • Expected to arrive in 2023

An all-new and all-electric Abarth 500 hot hatchback is on the way. The new model will be based on the Fiat 500 electric city car, and will be the first EV from Fiat’s performance sub-brand. Now for the first time, we’ve spotted the upcoming electric pocket rocket testing in camouflage, giving us our first hint of what to expect.

To set it apart from the regular 500 EV, the electric Abarth 500 will get more power, sportier handling and a racier design inside and out. When it arrives, it will have few direct rivals, apart from the upcoming Alpine R5, which is still a few years away from production. However, the electric Abarth 500 could also be viewed as a smaller and more affordable alternative to other sporty hatchback EVs such as the MINI Electric and Cupra Born.

The new electric Abarth 500 is likely to carry over all of the sporty design touches from the current model. This was hinted at by Fiat CEO Oliver Francois who told our sister publication Auto Express: “The looks are the same. We need to be a little bit more extrovert. Abarth is always a little bit over the top, with spoilers and wheels.”

auto, autos, car, cars, reviews, electric abarth 500: plug-in hot hatchback nears production

As you can see from the spy photos, the new electric Abarth looks to be no-less exuberant than its petrol predecessor; the camouflage wrap disguises a large rear spoiler as well as flared arches that account for the sportier Abarth’s wider track width (the distance between the wheels on each axle). On the inside, expect a set of Abarth-branded sports seats, as well as aluminium pedals and a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel.

Details of its powertrain are yet to be revealed, but we’d expect the Abarth to get a substantial power hike over the 500 electric. In standard form, the Fiat 500 EV is powered by a 116bhp electric motor fed by a 42kWh battery, giving it a 0-62mph time of nine seconds and a top speed of 93mph.

To match the current Abarth 595 range, the electric Abarth will need a power boost of at least 50bhp over the standard model – and even more to match the 215bhp expected in the Alpine R5. However, like the existing petrol-engined model, which is available in different power outputs across the base 595, Turismo, Competizione, esseesse, F595 and 695 models, we expect the EV could get a variety of powertrain options.

auto, autos, car, cars, reviews, electric abarth 500: plug-in hot hatchback nears production

As the electric Abarth 500 will focus on performance rather than range, it’s likely this model won’t be able to match the 199-mile range offered by the 500 EV. The brand could also give the model a synthetic engine sound, or it could enhance the noise of the electric motor.

Since production of the Abarth 124 Spider ended a few years ago, the sub-brand’s range has been limited to the 595 hatch and 595C, plus the limited-run 695 models. We expect the new electric Abarth 500 to make its debut sometime in 2023, followed shortly by another fully-electric, Fiat-based Abarth model by the end of 2025. Of course, this would spell the end of petrol-powered models for the Italian performance brand, something that will likely come as a disappointment to many enthusiasts.

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