Fiat Centoventi EV Green-Lit for Production, Report Says
The new Fiat 500 won’t be the only battery-electric model the Italian automaker will field in the near future; Fiat’s next electric car will be a production version of the Panda-styled Centoventi concept shown in Geneva in 2019, Auto Express reports.
“At Geneva last year, we showed our other EV car, our urban baby, [and] we are still working on it — it was not just a flash in the pan,” Fiat’s global boss Olivier Francois told Auto Express. “It’s another approach to full electric. So I think we have a bright future in the full electric approach to city cars, through the 500e and through the more non-traditional approach with this minimalist, lower prince Centoventi that is very Panda-inspired,” Francois added.
The Centoventi, named for Fiat’s 120th anniversary in 2019, made a splash in Geneva with boxy, Fiat Panda-inspired styling, an interior designed to be reconfigured and a modular battery that could be expanded from a base 62-mile range all the way up to 310 miles. The concept previewed a layout that will allow up to three additional battery modules to be added by a dealership, each giving it an extra 62 miles of range.
“The extra batteries are installed underneath the floor of the car by the service network. A sliding rail, which supports and connects the batteries, makes their installation or removal particularly quick and easy,” Fiat said during the concept’s introduction. “An additional battery, for mounting under the seat, is also available; it can be disconnected and put on charge directly in the user’s home or garage, just like the battery of a modern e-bike.”
The interior is designed to be customized as well, featuring a dash with drilled holes that will allow owners to add bins and other equipment to the interior. This “plug and play” layout will also allow users to customize the instrument cluster, and it extends to the doors as well, allowing for different pockets to be installed as needed.
It remains to be seen just how much of the Centoventi’s funky styling will make it to production. Fiat recently took the step of barely evolving the look of the Fiat 500, which will replace a model that debuted all the way back in 2007, the biggest visual change being the “eyelids” added to the headlights. The Centoventi concept was meant to be a little larger than a 500, but it is still a small EV hatch that will have to compete with other EVs in the marketplace, most of which are much larger.
The production version of the Centoventi will also land at a time when the hatchback bodystyle is seeing its first real retreat in ages in Europe. A larger EV the size of the Mercedes-Benz EQC was never really an option for Fiat, which intends to focus on smaller and more affordable cars, but in staking its claim to the subcompact EV segments Fiat will also have to contend with real-world levels of demand for these bodystyles among drivers most of whom will be new to EVs.
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