Why should the Fiat 500 return to a thermal engine before summer?

Fiat like Stellantis – the automobile group to which the Italian brand belongs – have made no official announcement, but the rumor is already making the rounds of all dealerships. In an article published this week, the specialized media Automotive News Europe mentions the probable arrival of a 500th thermal.

A sacrilege for some, an admission of failure for others. Since its launch in 2020, Fiat had assured that the 500e was a 100% electric car. The brand promised that no concessions were possible on this point.

An unpopular electric 500th?

But a letter written by Stellantis to suppliers suggests that the group is preparing to make significant changes. In this document, the consortium announces the order of 150,000 new 500e before the end of the year.

If the engine is not specified in detail, several informants indicated that producing more than 100,000 electric Fiat 500e was impossible. The logistics required for such an industrial feat are simply not achievable for Fiat. This would also be heresy from a commercial point of view, all these cars not finding a buyer.

Because if the 100% electric Fiat 500e is difficult to produce, it is even more complicated to sell. The Italian brand cannot sell all of its production. It is these sales difficulties which would have pushed Stellantis to launch a thermal version of the 500e.

A thermal Fiat 500, the solution to all problems?

Stellantis seems to have found the solution to all its problems in a thermal version of its 500e. First of all, the classic thermal Fiat 500s, still on the market, will no longer be able to drive in Europe from this summer. Another sticking point around the 500th, the Italian Mirafiori factory, which produces this model, is now in difficulty.

The order book is empty, and jobs are threatened. The launch of a thermal version of the 500e could therefore boost sales and save dozens of jobs in Italy. Enough to improve relations between the brand and the government of the boot.

An electric city car, mission impossible?

This decision (still unofficial) in any case shows Fiat's failure to launch a popular electric city car. The brand wanted to ride on the name and reputation of the Fiat 500, but the overly “light” characteristics of this city car made it a car shunned by the general public.

As several automotive experts explain, the revised design of the 500e interests many potential customers, but they all or almost flee when reading the technical sheet and in particular the autonomy (between 190 and 320 kilometers depending on the evaluation cycles).

While all car manufacturers are launching into the electric market, Fiat will have been one of the first to suffer the setbacks. The Italian brand had taken a risky gamble. She didn't want to design a luxurious sedan with a huge battery. Nor even a spacious and heavy SUV, also capable of driving for hours.

Fiat wanted, like Peugeot with its e-208 or Renault at the time of its Zoé, to position itself on the market for electric city cars, today's entry-level vehicles in the world of electric cars. A failed bet for the Italian brand, which failed to combine the small size of its legendary 500 with attractive autonomy.

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