Abarth goes eeEElectric with the 500e

electric-performance makes more sense in a compact car like the Abarth 500e

Abarth, for some backstory, is the in-house tuning arm and performance division of Fiat. Formed independently in 1949 and subsequently taken over by Fiat in 1971, Abarth is responsible for bonkers creations such as the classic and modern day 695, which both took a Fiat 500 of their respective generations and added power, performance, handling and insane quirky touches, such as bucket seats that couldn’t fully fold forward in the classic 695, to create something insanely memorable for the road. So it was natural that these folks would get their hands on the humble Fiat 500e and make something truly special out of it.

classic (left) and modern (right) Abarth 695

Let’s get some marketing-speak cheesiness out of the way first. Abarth says that “the New Abarth 500e is ‘more Abarth than EVer'” (see what they did there? emphasis mine. *nudge nudge wink wink!*) A 42kWh battery coupled with a powerful e-motor mean that 155hp is available on tap from the word go. As a result, 0-100km/h is seen off in just 7 seconds, but more impressive is acceleration while on the move. Compared to its petrol-powered brother, the Abarth 500e accelerates one second quicker from 20-40km/h, which is perfect for urban point-and-squirts, 40-60km/h in just 1.5 seconds and faster than its petrol brethren by one second, and 60-100km/h by almost the same difference for smarter overtaking manoeuvres. Not only in straight lines, but the Abarth 500e can deftly handle corners and bends too, courtesy of wider track widths front and rear and tuned handling performance.

And it’s not going to do it in complete silence either. Sound has always been an integral part of the Abarthist’s (Abarth enthusiast’s) experience, and to this end, one can fit an optional “Sound Generator” to the Abarth 500e, that reproduces engine sounds during spirited driving to satisfy the Abarthist’s aural needs. Even the in-car bings and bongs and external homologation-mandated electric vehicle sound has been replaced by guitar-strumming and a ‘jingle’ respectively, to make the 500e instantly recognisable as an Abarth.

Once rubber has been laid to the road, an 85-kW fast charging system helps the Abarth 500e to juice up to 80% battery capacity from near-empty in just 35 minutes. However, if that’s still too long for the busy bee who just needs to splash-n-dash, around 40km of range can be added in just 5 minutes.

A performance vehicle needs to stand out from its humdrum run-of-the-mill siblings. To this end, Abarth has fitted a sportier bumper, side skirts, a white lower lip, inserts in the rear diffuser, special alloy rims and Titanium Grey mirror caps to their 500e. Plus, who can mistake that eyeball-searing but performance-proposing limited launch-edition Acid Green paint colour!

Their signature Scorpion logo has also been updated to signify Abarth’s foray into the electric future with a lightning bolt, probably unleashed in shocked-fury by Zeus himself, piercing the poor arthropod’s pedipalps.

Performance touches also extend to the inside, where swathes of striped suede-like material cover parts of the steering wheel, dashboard and the seats.

The bucket seats themselves are meant to hold one snugly in the twisties, and feature embossed scorpion logos (sans Zeus’ pedipalp-piercing zapper) as a reminder that this isn’t an everyday 500e.

The Abarth 500e comes with a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with unique Abarth performance-metrics.

Also included is a 7-inch digital instrument cluster that displays information such as speed, range, current driving mode, battery status and so on.

Creature comforts in the Abarth 500e include keyless go, automatic climate control, automatic headlights with low/high beam control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, 360° “drone view sensor system” and a premium JBL audio system.

That’s all well and good, but here’s the thing.

Stellantis is said to be keeping Fiat as a Europe-only brand, meaning it is likely that we will not see either the Fiat or Abarth versions of the 500e on our shores. So it doesn’t really matter to talk about Abarth’s new paperless, online purchasing platform.

Shame, really. This could have been a truly rare, cute, fun and quirky Singapore-city runabout.

Enjoyed this article? Check out the recently-debuted Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV or more EV news and reviews here!

vivek max r.

Vivek is an automotive enthusiast, future-tech explorer and has just started getting into bikes. He believes that because science is always evolving and never settled, we should never stop looking for better ways to be more sustainable and eco-friendly.

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