Fiat's new range of small EVs could be a hit in the USA.
Fiat, the cheeky Italian carmaker famous for building microcars such as the 500 and 500X, has been keeping it small for decades, and now that the EV revolution is at its doorstep, it will keep on doing just that.
It is clear that Fiat is taking the whole EV thing quite seriously, and now company boss Olivier Francois has stated in an interview with Autocar that the company is committed to an EV lineup that will remain small.
As part of Fiat's overhaul of its existing lineup, the company is dedicated to introducing five new models in the next five years, all of which will compete in the compact car market, or as our European counterparts like to call it, the A and B segments.
As part of the Stellantis empire, Fiat has access to numerous platforms and powertrains and some cutting-edge battery technology. Thus far, it looks like Fiat's new electric minis will use the same CMP platform used by other small cars, such as the Vauxhall Corsa-e and Peugeot e-208.
Fiat is also looking at new platforms, such as the one utilized by the exciting 2019 Centoventi concept car, hinting at the possibility of a Panda revival.
It's no secret that manufacturers have struggled to build affordable entry-level EVs, with cars such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV costing upward of $25,000. The upcoming Euro 7 emissions regulations will also add prohibitive costs to producing small EVs in Europe.
"What we are super-focused on doing is A, B, and C cars but with the right engine, body, and technology. The stuff the customer will really crave at that moment. So small cars, but with a smart package." said Francois.
The fact that brands such as Volkswagen and Ford have pulled out of the small EV game in Europe has opened up opportunities for Fiat. "The fact that there is no Fiesta in the way or Polo in the way is just fantastic because it is really where we belong. It's where people expect us to be. We have not done a new Punto since 2013 or something like that, but if you ask European customers to name their top B-segment brands, Fiat is in the top three," Francois explains.
But even if there's a glaring gap for Fiat to fill, the cost of producing affordable, effective, and appealing EVs remains a challenge. "The only super-profitable, easy way to go electric is to make it super-premium because you embed the horribly high cost of batteries into something that is anyway expensive," says Francois.
The fact that Fiat falls under the Stellantis empire does help, as it brings the economics of scale into play, something that Fiat could never hope to achieve on its own.
All we know is that America is starved of cute European city runabouts, and a small red Fiat that runs on electricity could be a big hit in our big cities.