Fiat unveiled the New 500's convertible version at the Milan event. The launch version will cost 37,900 euros ($42,700) in Italy, excluding government environmental incentives. That compares with a starting price of 16,000 euros for a gasoline-engine 500. The three-door hatchback will cost less and will be unveiled on July 4.
"The 500 is not mass market, it's not the cheapest car in its segment, and so it will continue to be," Francois said.
The New 500 has 320-km (200-mile) range in Europe's WLTP cycle, can rise to 400 km in the WLTP urban cycle, which is more favorable to electric vehicles, Fiat said. It is powered by an 87-kilowatt (116-hp) electric motor and a 42-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack.
The New 500 accelerates fast from a standing start, thanks to its electric drivetrain. It can accelerate from 0 to 50 kph in 3.1 seconds and from 0 to 100 kph in 9 seconds. Its top speed is limited to 150 kph.
An 85-kilowatt fast charger is supplied as standard. The 500 can be charged to add 50 km range in five minutes, more than is needed for average daily use, Fiat said. It an reach an 80 percent charge in 35 minutes. A full charge takes 6 hours using a 7.4-kW home wall box.
Safety equipment includes front-facing camera monitoring technology that monitors all areas of the car, both longitudinally and laterally.
Its adaptive cruise control system brakes or accelerates in response to cars, cyclists, pedestrians. Lane Centering keeps the vehicle in the center of the lane when the markings are correctly identified. Sensors provide an all around view to avoid any obstacles when parking or performing complex maneuvers.
The New 500 is slightly bigger than the gasoline-engine car currently on sale. It has a 20 mm longer wheelbase at 2320 mm and is 60 mm longer at 3631 mm, 60 mm wider at 1687 mm and 20 mm taller at 1508 mm.
It will be sold initially in Europe only, with Fiat hoping to sell 80,000 a year at full capacity. The car will be also sold in Brazil starting next year. Exports to the U.S. could follow if there is sufficient demand, Francois said.
Fiat has allotted 500 units of the launch edition to each of the 28 European countries, he said. The allotment would make 14,000 units, which "could be an estimate of the deliveries level in 2020," Francois said.
Preproduction has already started at Fiat's Mirafiori plant in Turin and full production will start in June. First deliveries will arrive in dealerships in August.