Abarth 500e: Everything we know as of May 2022

Update: ‘Production & Release Date’ section updated.

Though Stellantis is yet to confirm an Abarth 500e (or whatever name the brand chooses), the company has said that in 2024, Abarth will switch to electric powertrains. It is unimaginable that Stellantis will separate Abarth from the 500 in the EV era, even for a day. Road-testing of the 500e Abarth variant has started, spy shots (view on moparinsiders.com) have revealed. Here’s what we expect from the Abarth electric car.

Variant confirmation

At the Stellantis EV Day 2021 (held in July 2021), Olivier Francois, CEO, Fiat, confirmed an electrified Abarth from 2024. Stellantis also issued statements for each of its 14 brands expressing the electrification approach. For an electrified Abarth brand, the statement reads, “Heating Up People, But Not The Planet.”

And the same year, 2024, Abarth too will switch to full BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle).

Olivier Francois, CEO of Fiat & Abarth, on July 8, 2021

Abarth 500e Design & Platform

Abarth differentiated its version of the gasoline-powered 500 from the Fiat model through prominent changes on the outside. These included bumpers with air dams at the front and a splitter at the rear with dual exhausts, side skirts, and larger, low-profile alloy wheels. The Abarth Scorpion logo replaced the Fiat logo all around, and the styling department threw in racing stripes or a dual-tone color for good measure to keep the Abarth distinct.

Abarth 500e (Abarth 500 electric) render
Abarth’s first battery-powered car should focus purely on driving fun. Image: TopElectricSUV’s render of the Abarth 500e

With the Abarth 500 electric, designers should take a similar approach barring the exhausts, of course. The task of retaining the 500’s identity as it transforms from an ICE to an EV-only model has already been done, which should take the weight off the shoulders of Abarth designers.

Abarth 500e Powertrain & Performance

The first generation Abarth 500e should use an evolution of the current 500’s chassis, sport around 200 hp output (the ICE Abarth 595 sees 177 hp), with the capability of a 6-7-second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph); the 595 does it in 6.9 seconds. As the powertrain would be tuned for a quick burst of acceleration and reaching its top speed, the range may not be far from the 199 miles (320 km) managed by the standard 500e in the WLTP test, even if the battery is upsized. As in any performance derivative, expect Abarth engineers to fit bigger brakes and tweak the transmission for quicker acceleration.

Stellantis mentioned that its EDM (Electric Drive Module, which consists of the gearbox if required, motor and inverter) is compact and is easily scalable. Additionally, the EDMs can be configured for front, rear, or all-wheel drive capability. This could potentially help Stellantis experiment with rear-wheel, or all-wheel drive layouts for the Abarth 500e, something which it could have never done on a scale with the ICE model, which was a front-wheel drive only.

Abarth 500e Cabriolet (Electric Convertible) Rendering
Similar to the 500e, the Abarth electric should be available in more than one body style, with a convertible being an ideal second option. Image: TopElectricSUV’s Abarth 500 electric cabrio render

Where the 500e features a Lithium-Ion battery, Stellantis mentioned it is planning two battery chemistries by 2024 with a high energy density option earmarked for its performance vehicles and pickup trucks. By 2026, Stellantis will offer solid-state batteries too. Similarly, with the electric platform for small models (STLA Small) arriving in 2026, Abarth’s role is set to continue well into the future as a performance brand. The original Abarth 695 from 1964 was a rear-wheel drive hatch based on the rear-wheel drive 500; the flexible EV powertrain and new battery tech could help Abarth embrace this history while being future-forward in the subsequent generation.

No fake exhaust note

Every Abarth needs to generate excitement with sound, but without a combustion engine, it is complicated. According to a report from British magazine Auto Express, Francois and his engineers are yet to decide if they should synthesize an exhaust note or accentuate the sound of motor whine in the performance EV. Francois himself is more interested in keeping things authentic and embracing the subtle exhilaration with the electric-motor whine. He told Auto Express that he is leaning toward developing a “badass” Formula E sound.

Acoustic Vehicle Alert System

Abarth is conducting an online survey regarding AVAS (Acoustic Vehicle Alert System) for its first electric car. With EVs being inherently silent, AVAS is used to alert pedestrians of an incoming EV using synthesized noises. Instead of choosing any sound for AVAS to meet regulations, Abarth has taken a rather creative route. The brand is asking fans across social media platforms, including Instagram, to choose between three sounds, namely Next Track, Cyber Fun, and Rock’n Roar, created by the brand’s sound engineers. Abarth would integrate the most popular AVAS sound into the brand’s coming EV.

Abarth sound survey
Abarth fans can choose between three sounds: Next Track, Cyber Fun, and Rock’n Roar. Image: Abarth

Production & Release Date

According to a March 2022 report from Autocar, which spoke to Francois, Fiat is actively working on the variant. Expect the company to reveal the car in some form in 2023, followed by the sales launch in 2024—the timeline previously announced by the company.

As Abarth transitions to electric vehicles, the current Abarth 595/695 could be discontinued just prior the market launch of the all-electric variant. The word in the Italian media is that the production of all the existing A-segment (city) cars at Stellantis’ Tychy plant will end in 2023, as per a report from moparinsiders.com. The Polish plant also makes the Abarth 595/695. Like the 500e, the 100% electrified Abarth variant should come from Stellantis’ Mirafiori factory in Italy.

Abarth 500e Price & Rivals

The standard 500e is not cheap, with prices starting at GBP 23,835 (USD 29,768) and going up to GBP 30,835 (USD 38,510). The performance Abarth electric 500 should see prices of GBP 35,000-40,000 (USD 43,712-49,956). The closest rival to the electric Abarth will be the electric Mini JCW which should be in the marketplace mid-decade, while sport versions of the Skoda city car, VW ID.2, and the Cupra Urban Rebel, and the Alpine R5 could be cheaper alternatives.

Featured Image: Rendering of the Abarth 500e by TopElectricSUV