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Electric Abarth 595: new Fiat 500 hot hatch expected for release in 2023


A high-performance version of the Fiat 500 – again badged as an Abarth – is in the works, with an all-electric powertrain

Abarth is set to boost the electric hot hatch game with the launch of a Abarth 500 electric variant which could be released in Europe next year. 

The electric Abarth 500 will likely be based on the Fiat New 500 that is a completely re-hauled car, unlike the Fiat 500 sold in Australia, and has been on sale in Europe since 2020. It has a range of 320km (WLTP) and uses a 70kW motor and a 21.2kWh battery pack in base form. 

According to Auto Express, the Abarth 500’s transition to electric will be the first for the brand and will not hold back in terms of exterior styling.

Abarth 595 with racecar and transporter
The Abarth 500 electric could look even more aggressive than the current 595

Fiat’s chief executive officer Oliver Francois told the publication that “the looks are the same (as before). We need to be a little bit more extroverted. Abarth is always a little bit over the top, with spoilers and wheels,” he said. 

Expect plenty of Abarth decals, wings, bigger wheels and, as a departure from the cars of the past, a potentially synthetic engine sound. 

Abarth models have long been regarded for their loud and sporty exhaust sound – this could be recreated inside the cabin as a synthetic noise.

Fiat 500 electric driving on street
The Fiat New 500 electric which was released in Europe in 2020

Fiat CEO Francois asked: “do you want to put a super Abarth-ish sound or we can also invent a kind of Formula E sound that’s very loud”. 

The Abarth 500 would be a competitor for the forthcoming Alpine R5 hot hatch, which will run on RenaultNissan’s CMF-BEV platform – as well as the Volkswagen ID2.

The electric powertrain of the Abarth 500

Powertrains and performance for the Abarth 500 electric have not yet been revealed, so it is best to look at the closely related Fiat 500 electric as a starting point. 

Two battery/motor configurations are available on the Fiat New 500 – a 70kW motor paired to a 21.2kWh (usable) battery pack or a 87kW motor paired to a 37.3kWh (usable) battery pack. 

Fiat 500 electric cobblestone street
You have to look hard to tell whether this car is electric or not

For the high performance Abarth version, outputs could be lifted to around the same power figures as the petrol-powered Abarth 595 which produces 132kW/250Nm. It is likely, however, that those figures could rise higher to around 150kW/350Nm due to the torque capabilities of an electric motor. 

What happens to the internal combustion Abarths?

Currently, the only models currently available in the Abarth lineup here in Australia are the 595 and 595 Competizione hatchback. 

Abarth 595 2022 on track
The current Abarth 595 has a raucous exhaust sound thanks to a dual mode system

These models both use a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 132kW and 250Nm. Both models are available with either a manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission. 

The Abarth 124 Spider, which was based on the ND Mazda MX-5 platform, is no longer available. 

Once the Abarth 500 electric comes to market, it is almost certain that the internal combustion cars in the range will be discontinued, marking the end of an era for Abarth’s characterful turbo engines.