Fiat 500 Electric Review
The Fiat 500 Electric is one of the most affordable and desirable electric cars right now - available in hatchback and convertible form
Strengths & weaknesses
The Fiat 500 is now an electric car - rather than using a small petrol engine as before, the new 500 has a small battery and electric motor that allows for a range of up to 200 miles per charge in the longest-range version with the larger battery pack.
One of the best things about the new 500 is that it’s more affordable than many other small electric cars. It’s quite a bit more expensive than a petrol-powered 500, but next to rivals such as the Mini Electric and Honda e, the Fiat is very affordable.
This is especially relevant considering how stylish and desirable the 500 is, thanks to the retro-but-modern styling. It’s easily as eye-catching as the Mini Electric but is cheaper to buy, so it’s great value. There’s even the Fiat 500 Cabrio (500C) Electric as well, with a folding fabric roof that’s great for sunny days.
You can choose from two battery sizes and either a 118hp or a 93hp motor, so there’s room in the range to find something that suits your needs and budget. The smaller battery provides about 120 miles of range and the larger one has the full 200 miles available on a single charge. Both will be fine for city users but the larger battery could even be good for those who have a relatively long commute.
The 500 isn’t as smart inside as some of its rivals, but if you don’t mind that, the enjoyable driving experience means it’s a great buy. It’s nippy at low speeds and really quiet, plus it’s fun on twisty roads as well. It could be a little more comfortable but it’s far from unpleasant and would make a great everyday car if you can charge it up overnight.
Read on to find out more about the Fiat 500 and to decide whether it’s right for you, including details on which versions are best.
Should I get a Fiat 500 Electric?
✔ One of the few affordable electric cars
✔ Good to drive and plenty of range
✔ Stylish looks and trendy image
✘ Could be more comfortable to drive
✘ Not the most spacious, especially in the back
✘ More expensive than a petrol Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 is a fantastic electric car simply because it offers the range that most drivers will need at a price they can afford. It’s still not going to be an option for people with a limited budget, as it’s nowhere near as cheap as a petrol 500, but if you’re looking for a small and affordable electric car then the Fiat should be on your shortlist.
It’s stylish, fun to drive, well equipped, good value for money and can drive for up to 200 miles on a single charge. There’s also a 500 Cabrio version, which is a convertible model with a folding roof. The only thing that might make you think twice is the limited practicality, as it’s very tight in the back seats and the boot is small.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Batteries and range
- Best Fiat 500 for...
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
Fiat 500 Electric
The Fiat 500 range has become a bit confusing with the launch of the electric version. You’ll see it called several things including ‘Fiat 500e’, ‘Fiat 500 Electric’ and ‘New Fiat 500’ - all of these refer to the new model that is electricity-powered only. Fiat’s UK website calls it the ‘New 500 Electric’ because the petrol-powered version is still available there as well.
For simplicity, we’re calling it the Fiat 500 here. It came out in 2020 and is available with either a 24kWh battery or a 42kWh battery. The former offers up to 118 miles of range and the latter has 199 miles of range, plus it can charge at a faster rate of 85kW at a public rapid charge point.
The smaller battery can charge up to 80% using a 50kW charger in 30 minutes, while the larger one takes 35 minutes at 85kW, but since it’s a bigger unit you are able to add more range in the same amount of time.
Fiat 500C Electric
There’s also a convertible version called the Fiat 500 Cabrio. You might see it called the 500C in some places as well. It’s identical to the hatchback model in terms of the motors and batteries available, although it’s not available with the smaller 24kWh battery, as it’s only sold in the higher trim levels.
The sliding roof allows you to have some roof-down fun when the weather’s right, although it’s not a full convertible - it’s a canvas section of the roof that rolls back like a shutter, leaving the sides of the car in place. It’s a good solution because it means there’s no bulky roof that takes up boot space.
|Limited stock: Action is the base trim level and comes with 15-inch wheels, halogen headlights, air-conditioning, rear parking sensors, keyless go, a digital display rather than dials, a smartphone cradle, autonomous emergency braking and lane-keep assist.
|Limited stock: If you move up to Passion trim then you also get different wheel designs, a seven-inch touchscreen media system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a digital radio, climate control, folding rear seats and cruise control.
|Limited stock: In addition to the above, Icon also comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, an eco-leather steering wheel, keyless entry, a larger 10.3-inch touchscreen on the dash with sat-nav and traffic sign information.
|Limited stock: The top-spec model is called La Prima, and it comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof for the hatch models, an auto-dimming mirror, an armrest, wireless phone charging, blind-spot warning and a reversing camera.
There are two choices of battery in the new Fiat 500: 24kWh and 42kWh. The former is only available on the entry-level model, so it’s Action trim only and there’s no Cabrio variant with this setup. It has a less powerful 93hp motor as well, which means it’s not as nippy as the larger 42kWh battery version.
Most drivers will choose the larger battery versions as these have a 118hp motor and a range of 199 miles on a single charge, plus the faster 85kW charging capability. The 24kWh battery can charge at 50kW, which is good enough for many drivers because it’s only a small battery and doesn’t take too long to charge. It offers a range of 118 miles.
The 24kWh battery takes half an hour to charge to 80% using a public rapid charger, while the 42kWh version takes about the same thanks to its faster charging rate. At home overnight, the former takes two-and-a-half hours (on an 11kW home charger) and the latter takes four hours and 15 minutes.
The 42kWh model is the one most drivers will want to go for, as it allows you to select a higher trim level with the equipment you want included - not to mention the extra range for peace of mind.
There are a few trim levels to consider in the new Fiat 500 Electric range, but as there are only two battery options it’s a fairly straightforward choice in that sense. The smaller battery is also only available on the lowest trim level, so if you want that model you only have one option.
Here we’ve picked out a handful of models for drivers with some of the most common priorities, and explained why each model fits that category.
|Fiat 500 Action 24kWh: The entry-level model offers a range of 118 miles, which should be enough for many drivers to get to work and back each day and then charge up overnight. If that’s you, and you can live without a touchscreen media system, this version is great value.
|Fiat 500 Passion 42kWh: With more people on board, range will be reduced because of the added weight. The 500 is too small for most to use as a family car, but if you want to do that then we’d recommend the larger battery model, so you don't have to worry about charging up as often.
|Fiat 500 42kWh Icon: All Fiat 500 models with the 42kWh battery have identical performance, so there’s no change as long as you go for a model with this motor - it has 118hp and powers the car from 0-62mph in 9.0 seconds.
|Fiat 500 42kWh La Prima Cabrio: There’s no real bad option in the range but the most expensive model is the La Prima Cabrio version. It’s not too bad but looks quite expensive next to some of the lower-spec models.
BuyaCar prices Limited stock
BuyaCar prices Limited stock
The Fiat 500 is one of the most affordable small electric cars around. As a new or nearly new car, it’s a rival for the Mini Electric, Renault Zoe and Honda e, which are all small cars aimed at those in the city who want something stylish and cheap to run.
Other rivals on the used market include the MG ZS EV, which is a small SUV, and the Nissan Leaf, which is a larger car and much more practical, but as it’s been around for a long time there are plenty of lower-cost used models available with a few more miles on the clock.
You could also consider a small hybrid car if you can’t plug in every night - a Honda Jazz or Toyota Yaris would fit the bill there, as neither need to be plugged in but still run on electric power some of the time. As a result, they're relatively economical around town and offer additional cabin space compared with the 500.
Fiat 500 Electric practicality: dimensions and boot space
The Fiat 500 is famous for being a tiny car and at 3.6m long, 1.7m wide and 1.5m tall, it’s still one of the smallest cars on the road, despite being much larger than the classic 1960s 500. For comparison, the Mini Electric is 3.8m long, 1.7m wide and 1.4m tall. Consequently, the 500 is very easy to drive and park.
There’s not much space inside as a result, though. It’s fine for a driver and passenger, although taller adults might find the driving position a little uncomfortable. The rear seats are only suitable for children, meanwhile, as adults will struggle for legroom and headroom in both the hatchback and Cabrio models.
|Weight 1,255kg - 1,405kg
The Fiat 500 has a 185-litre boot no matter which version you choose - and that includes the 500 Cabrio as well, since the roof doesn’t stow into the boot but simply rests above it when lowered.
The boot volume extends to 550 litres when the rear seats are folded (in models that have this feature), which is an okay figure for a city car. The Fiat sits in between its key rivals for boot space - the Mini has a larger space of 211 litres and the Honda e has 171 litres. None are hugely practical, but the boot is big enough for most daily tasks like food shopping.
|Seats up 185 litres
|Seats down 550 litres
Since the Fiat 500 is an electric car, there are fewer moving parts than in a petrol or diesel. So, it’s likely to be much more reliable than the previous versions. It’s still a very new model and there’s not much data available on reliability yet, so it’s tough to make a definitive statement yet. Still, we wouldn’t have any particular concerns when considering buying one.
Unfortunately, Fiat owners ranked the brand in 26th place out of the 29 manufacturers that appeared in the 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. This is largely based on the previous 500, since that’s the biggest-selling model for the brand, so it doesn’t paint the brightest picture for the new model. However, it’s worth remembering that this electric model is very different to the previous petrol car.
The Fiat 500 comes with a standard warranty of three years or 60,000 miles. It’s the same as you get on virtually every other electric car - it’s essentially the bare minimum that a car maker will provide. Kia, Hyundai and some others offer far longer warranties as standard, with Kia providing seven years' cover and Hyundai offering five, for instance.
Fiat also covers the 500’s batteries for up to eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. This helps protect you against the battery losing capacity or other faults. You can also buy an extended warranty from Fiat for either 12 or 24 months to cover you for longer than the standard amount.
The Fiat 500 electric car is a fantastic first step into motoring without a petrol or diesel engine. It’s one of the most affordable small electric cars around, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less appealing than many of the more expensive options - it’s stylish, good to drive and has plenty of equipment as standard.
There are two battery packs to choose from, and even the 118-mile range of the smaller, cheaper 24kWh model might be enough for you - but the 42kWh’s 200-mile range is even better. It’s able to charge quickly too, plus performance is good from the 118hp electric motor in this version.
If you’re looking for an affordable route to electric car ownership and don’t mind going for a small car with limited room for passengers and luggage, then the 500 is a great car to consider - and there’s even a Cabrio version for those who love to drive with the roof down.
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The entry-level Fiat 500 is the Action, which only comes with the smaller 24kWh battery. This has a range of 118 miles, enough for many, and while it’s not as well equipped as higher-spec models, it’s good value and you can use your smartphone for navigation.
Move up to a higher trim level such as Icon to get the best balance of equipment and cost. All Icon versions come with the larger, longer-range 42kWh battery pack as well as alloy wheels and an impressive 10.3-inch touchscreen media system on the dash, with sat-nav.
There’s also the Fiat 500 Cabrio, which has a folding fabric roof. It’s great for sunny days and is only available in Passion, Icon and La Prima trim levels. We’d go for the middle option again - Icon is the best value of the three, although even Passion is really well equipped as well.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example
|APR rates available
|Cash price £12,000
|Value of loan
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12
|Annual mileage of 8,000pa
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55
|Term 48 months
|Optional final payment £4,285.79
|Loan value £12,000
|Total amount payable £14,755.55
BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.