FIAT Looking To Put An Internal Combustion Engine In The 500e?

Suppliers and Engineers, Say YES!

In a surprising turn of events, Fiat, under the umbrella of Stellantis, is contemplating a significant shift in its iconic all-electric 500e city car. As sales falter and production targets remain elusive, whispers emerge from suppliers and engineers to various media sources suggesting that Stellantis could be looking at fitting the 500e with an internal combustion engine (ICE).

2024 Fiat 500e Inspired By Music. (Fiat).

The 500e, once hailed as the beacon of Fiat’s electrification journey, found itself grappling with market realities. Despite initial enthusiasm, Fiat fell short of its production target of 90,000 units in 2023. Now, facing the need for a radical rethink, Fiat is considering injecting a dose of combustion into its electric masterpiece.

At the heart of this transformation lies the Mirafiori Assembly Plant, a symbol of Fiat’s manufacturing prowess. The plant has faced shift cutbacks and a slowdown in production, in both the 500e and the ultra-premium Maserati models the facility produces.

2024 Fiat 500e Inspired By Music. (Fiat).

But what engine could power this hybrid incarnation of the beloved 500e? Rumors suggest the adoption of a mild-hybrid configuration, featuring the trusted 1.0-liter, 70 horsepower FireFly gasoline engine, familiar to Fiat enthusiasts through models like the Panda. This blending of old and new reflects Fiat’s commitment to innovation while honoring its heritage.

The urgency for this unconventional shift stems from impending regulatory challenges. With the 500e facing obsolescence due to new safety and cybersecurity regulations, Fiat finds itself at a crossroads. Yet, rather than succumbing to fate, Fiat seeks to rewrite its destiny by reinventing its flagship model.

Fiat 500e being produced at the Mirafiori Assembly Plant. (Fiat).

Suppliers and engineers who are in the know about Fiat’s plans suggest that if the project gets the green light, it could take about two years to modify the 500e for an ICE version, showing how complex the process is going to be.

The news comes just as the 500e has arrived in showrooms in the U.S. and Canada. Here, a majority of people continue to prefer cars with traditional ICE engines, especially with uncertainties about electric car charging stations and government incentives. However, something more potent than the 1.0-liter FireFly would have to be used here. We suggest the 180 horsepower turbocharged 1.3-liter FireFly inline-four-cylinder from the 500X and Jeep® Renegade. That would surely boost sales for Fiat in the North American market.

2024 Fiat 500e Inspired By Beauty. (Fiat).

Stay tuned, as we look forward to seeing where this news will go. Maybe we will start seeing Stellantis follow other automakers, moving away from the all-electric path, and more into hybrid (HEV) and plug-in electric (PHEV) options.

Source: Automotive News Europe / Corriere della Sera

Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only the Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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The 500 is just not a style hit for US consumers. ICE or BEV, I don't think it will sustainably get any attraction. As a family of a now former 500, getting service was a PITA - as only select dealers would work on the vehicle, and you had to drive 50 miles sometimes to get minor service changes. Unless that changes, it will always be niche.

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The only brands that are going to be successful being an electric only brands are the luxury brands. Who wants to pay more for electric Fiat or Chrysler?

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I believe the 500e could be a strong selling electric in urban markets. It’s appeal falls off in other markets, but could have more appeal with a gasoline engine in both markets. I’ll attempt to by pass my soap box, but the walls of the all- electric brands are crumbling as we speak. This evaluation by Fiat is just acknowledging that reality.

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The original Fiat 500e compliance car didn't have a high-speed charging port. It was only level one or level 2 charging. Level 2 charging stations are fairly common in larger cities. City cars such as the Fiat 500 don't need large battery packs and can be charged at home in a reasonable amount of time. The lack of charging infrastructure in North America is less critical for a city car than the larger EVs with huge battery packs.

What I would do, if I ran Fiat, is take advantage of the 500e builtin battery capacity and leave enough batteries in the design for at least 100 km of range. Next, I would use the Kokomo built eFlite hybrid transaxle combined with the 3 cylinder Firefly ICE. If the eFlite unit doesn't fit then use someone else's hybrid setup. For North America the Fiat should be a PHEV, not a mild hybrid. The buyers of the Fiat 500e have a different set of expectations compared to other American based Stellantis brands.

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Please my Daughter loves hers, less expensive ice option.

A segment EVs are about to be dominated by the Chinese. For sure there is room for a Premium A vehicle in the EU but not at high volume

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