Get ready for an electric Abarth 500.
While Fiat and its performance subsidiary Abarth have always enjoyed success in Italy and Brazil, the brand has failed to catch on in other markets. The United States is a great example. Currently, the brand offers just one model, the 500X, but the 124 Spider, 500L, 500, and Abarth 500 have all been culled in recent years. The latter was a particularly sore loss as the Abarth 500 was a fun little tyke that prioritized pantomime over practicality in the best way. Despite being all but defunct in the US for the time being, Abarth is alive and well in Europe, and it's now embarking on a new adventure: electrification.
Historically a tuner of Fiat models, Abarth has now chosen its first model of the new era. And it's a familiar one indeed, as the first-ever scorpion-badged EV will be none other than the new Fiat 500e.
This is according to Autocar who recently interviewed brand boss and CEO, Olivier Francois about the future of the brand.
According to Francois, the performance arm will spawn up to three models at a time, of which the electric Abarth 500 will be the first. "A year and a half ago, I said it can't be that hard [to make an Abarth 500 EV]," he said in the interview. "Electric cars are so fun to drive already. The good news is that we are actively working on it, and once it's confirmed, it will be relatively quick."
However, Francois concedes that it isn't as easy as that. "If you want to do a real Abarth, it's not the same electric powertrain. Once it has the power and torque you want, it's no longer the same drivetrain, nor the same transmission or brakes… the whole thing has to be adapted."
Despite the challenges facing the company, it has achieved something which the CEO describes as fantastic.
The electrified Abarth is currently in the last stages of testing, which will be followed by Abarth's official announcement. While he wouldn't divulge many details, he did let slip something: "The sound is going to be very interesting. There will be a choice to be silent or not." Those sounds will be more than just the usual EV whine to warn pedestrians, as Abarth recently took to social media to ask fans to pick the soundtrack of the first EV. Francois says the passion of Abarth aficionados will be crucial to the future model. "We are going to leverage the community, involve them in the development. Social media is ideal for that."
There's still no word on whether the Abarth EV will be launched in the USA, but if the report is to be believed, we could see it break cover as soon as 2023.
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