Image credits: © Fiat.

Fiat 500e Offers New Technology for 2016 With All-New Touchscreen Radio and Added Connectivity

•New for 2016, Fiat 500e features all-new 5.0 Úconnect system wîth 5-inch touchscreen radio, Bluetooth connectivity and integrated voice command
•Fiat 500e delivers 108 MPGe highway rating and 87 miles of combined city/highway driving range, wîth city driving range typically greater than 100 miles
•Únsurpassed frugality wîth EPA-estimated annual fuel-equivalent cost of $500
•Fiat 500e is designed to keep electric vehicle (EV) ownership simple wîth its familiar no-nonsense design, convenience features, unique 'blended braking' and intelligently integrated approach to battery-electric technology
•World-class handling and braking for an EV that adds to the FIAT brand's lineup of vehicles wîth highly engaging driving dynamics
•2016 Fiat 500e features two new exterior colors

Auburn Hills, Mich., Sep 1, 2015 - Designing city-friendly, environmentally responsible and fun-to-drive small cars is what the FIAT brand stands for. The 2016 Fiat 500e electrifies the next chapter of the brand's legacy by embodying the FIAT brand's simple, purposeful and fun-to-drive values – through iconic style, engaging dynamics and an environmentally responsible zero-emissions design.

New for 2016, the Fiat 500e features Úconnect 5.0, which includes a 5-inch touchscreen, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth capability and integrated voice command for added driver convenience and connectivity.

State-of-the-art powertrain enables 87 miles of class-leading range Designed to be a Fiat 500 first and foremost, this no-compromise electric vehicle (EV) builds on the Cinquecento's successful small-car formula, while adding a liquid heated/cooled battery-electric powertrain that produces 111 horsepower (83 kW) and recharges in less than 4 hours wîth its 6.6 kW on-board charging module (OBCM) connected to a Level 2 energy source (220 volts).

When put through its paces, the aerodynamically styled Fiat 500e was rated wîth 108 highway MPGe and class-leading 87 miles of combined city and highway driving range by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And wîth the Cinquecento's regenerative braking system, drivers will typically exceed 100 miles of driving range in the city – all without any tailpipe emissions.

Drives like a Fiat 500 that happens to be electric

To ensure the 2016 Fiat 500e delivers world-class EV handling and braking performance, engineers designed a unique chassis and suspension for the EV powertrain, while further solidifying the engaging European driving dynamics the FIAT brand and Cinquecento are known for.

Únique in the EV §egmènt is the Fiat 500e's innovative 'blended braking' system. Únlike other EVs in the market that have an aggressive and unwanted 'drag' feeling when lifting off the accelerator pedal, the 2016 Fiat 500e is designed to feel like a regular gasoline-powered Cinquecento, while still immediately regenerating. In most cases, the Fiat 500e uses 100 percent of its regenerative braking capability all the way down to 8 mph to maximize the vehicle's efficiency, while enabling longer life of the brakes. The system also provides a more consistent and confident brake-pedal feel.

A unique lower-body structure design provides packaging and protection for the 2016 Fiat 500e's battery, while delivering a 10 percent improvement in bending stiffness. In addition, the design change from internal combustion to battery-electric enabled the Fiat 500e a front-to-rear weight distribution of 57/43 for improved handling performance. The result is a Cinquecento wîth a tighter and stiffer feel, and an added sense of confidence and control during higher speed maneuvers.

Efficient and simple retro-futuristic styling

The 2016 Fiat 500e pushes its iconic Italian design forward wîth its wind-tunnel-sculpted shape and retro-futuristic dot-matrix styled cues for a cutting-edge look. To achieve a 13 percent improvement in aerodynamics (0.311 coefficient of drag (Cd) compared wîth the Fiat 500 Lounge's 0.359 Cd), the Fiat 500e features eight exterior enhancements developed through more than 140 hours of wind tunnel testing and refinement. The result: a purposeful design that enables this Cinquecento to achieve an additional five miles of range on the highway.

Inside, Fiat 500e fuses retro-futuristic design wîth unique EV technology elements for an environment that combines simplicity wîth innovation. Its unique 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) instrument cluster displays full-color picture graphics to illustrate vehicle functions, charge levels and trip summary. Below its instrument panel bezel, the Fiat 500e also includes a uniquely designed electronic shifter wîth easy-to-use push-button transmission mode selection. The center console features an updated cup holder design and a media hub wîth an auxiliary port and a ÚSB port that is fully functional and integrated wîth the radio.

The 2016 Fiat 500e features the Úconnect 5.0 system wîth a 5-inch touchscreen that enables handsfree calling via Bluetooth-equipped phones, as well as voice-command control of AM/FM, and optional SiriusXM Radio and navigation system. Digital music can be streamed wirelessly from compatible Bluetooth smartphones or audio players supported by a media hub equipped wîth an auxiliary jack and ÚSB port that enables recharging and seamless operation of portable devices. An integrated CD player offers additional media flexibility.

For added style, the interior environment is available in Nero (black) or exclusive Steam (white), highlighted by Arancio Electrico (Electric Orange) or gray to bring even more design character to this Cinquecento. These unique interiors can be paired wîth eight available exterior paint colors, including new Grigio Cenre (light gray) and Rhino (dark gray).

EV-specific sound-deadening materials enable a 20 percent quieter interior

In addition to the 2016 Fiat 500e's electric powertrain, this Cinquecento also includes 13 product improvements that help to reduce interior cabin noise while driving. These NVH improvements include: •Additional mastic patches on floor
•Additional sound-deadening material in rear quarter body cavity
•Additional acoustic pads to wheelhouse liners
•Gasket between the mirror flag and door
•Mirror flag and B-pillar applique foam seals
•Additional 8 mm acoustic pad to rear floor behind rear seats
•Antenna wîth strakes
•Addition of a carpet mass layer
•Noise absorption pads in front doors
•Isolated engine torque mount
•Improved door glass belt and channel sealing
•Acoustic windshield glass
•Stiffened body structure

FIAT Access provides real-time vehicle information

Vital Stats
Engine :
Power: 111 hp
Torque: 147 ft-lbs

Keeping passengers of the Fiat 500e connected to vehicle information is the FIAT Access smartphone app (compatible wîth iPhone and Android), which includes three years of connected services and enables real-time vehicle status, manages charging, tracks the driver's energy use, locates the vehicle and nearby charging stations, plans and sends routes to the vehicle and provides text-message and email alerts.

Source - Fiat
With more than four million produced during its twenty-year production run, the tiny Fiat 500 was something to behold. Easy to spot by its rounded egg-like body, the Fiat 500 filled a need for utilitarian transportation for the Italian masses when it was introduced in 1957. The post-war European market needed an affordable option, and the rear-engined Fiat 500 was just the solution. The rear-engine design was taken from the Volkswagen Beetle and proved popular enough to be adopted by several other carmakers.

The designer behind the 500 was Dante Giacosa, who was famed for being one of the greatest designers in Fiat's history who not only dealt with the car design, but also had a big hand in the engineering. A cheap and practical town car, the Nuova (new) 500 was debuted in July 1957 and is considered one of the first city cars and lasted until 1960. Giacosa was extremely motivated to construct a car that packed more into a smaller space and he did this by making the engine mount at the rear side. It featured a smaller two-cylinder engine than all newer models, and produced just 13 bhp. The Nuova featured a fabric roof that folded entirely back to the rear of the car, similar to the Citroën 2CV. It was one of three models that came with 'suicide doors'. A stylish Sport version of the Nuova came with a special red stripe and more power in the engine.

With kart-like handling, the four-seat 500 was powered by an air-cooled 479cc flat twin, which eventually was boosted to 499cc that gave 18 bhp. With a top speed of 55mph, the 500 was an incredibly popular and practical vehicle of choice throughout Europe. Weighing at only 1,100 pounds, the 500 had a wheelbase of 72.4 inches, a length of 116.9 inches, a width and height of 52.0 inches. The 500 had a Cx (aerodynamic resistance coefficient) of 0,38, which was quite impressive for the era.

The 'D' replaced the original Nuova in 1960. Similar in appearances to the car it replaced, two differences set the models apart: the engine size and the roof. The D came with an uprated 499 cc engine that produced 17 hp as standard and continued to be used until the end of the L in 1973. The roof for the D didn't fold back as far as the Nuova, but it that earlier roof was available as the 'Transformable'. The D also came with 'suicide doors'. Torino Motors assembled the 500D in New Zealand and it was locally dubbed the 'Fiat Bambina'.

The 500 was offered as the 'Giardiniera' station wagon variant in addition to the two-door coupe in 1960 until 1975. The wagon had the standard engine laid on its side, an additional 10 cm wheelbase that made room for a useable rear seat, larger brakes and a full-length sunroof. Called the K or Giardiniera, the estate version of the Fiat 500 is the longest running model. To create a flat loading surface, the engine was laid under the floor of the trunk. The roof stretches all the way to the rear and didn't stop at the driver and front passenger like other models of the time. The K came with 'suicide doors', and unlike other models, it continued to carry these doors into the 1970s. Production moved to Desio in 1966 and the Giardiniera was constructed by Fiat subsidiary Autobianchi. Production of the Giardiniera tallied at 327,000 which later examples featuring Autobianchi rather than Fiat badging.

The Fiat 500 F or Berlina was produced from 1965 until 1973 and spans two period of 500 production, the D and the L. Because of the two production periods, the F model is very easily confused and misidentified. The F sported the same badging as the D from 1965 until 1969, but the two models can be easily told apart by the positioning of their door hinges. The F produced from June 1965 finally featured front-hinged doors while the D has 'suicide doors'. From '69 until '72 the F was sold next to the Lusso models as the less expensive 'base model' version. There wasn't much mechanically different from the F and L, but the main differences lay in the bumpers and the interior. The L had an extra chrome nudge bar, and the inside of the L featured a fresher updated look while the F interior didn't change from the original 1957 design.

Introduced in 1968 was the L or Lusso 500 model. It featured a modern interior that included a revamped dashboard and paid special attention to comfort and style for the passenger. The 500 L was produced until 1972.

The final version of the 500 was the R or Rinnovata version. The R model sported a larger 594 cc engine that was designed by Abarth with a more practical power rating of 23 bhp and a full synchromesh gearbox. This final model was much more comfortable than previous version yet was more simply equipped and trimmed than before. The fuel gauge was removed and only the low fuel indicator was left.

Several custom models of the 500 were produced, included the 'Jolly' version by Carrozzeria Ghia with inspiration taken from the very exclusive Fiat 600 Jolly. The Jolly came with wicker seats, a chopped-roof, no doors and usually seen with a canopy roof.

Showing that they had a lot of muscle behind their compact frame, seven Fiat 500s contested the first and only Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally in July of 1958. They were beaten by Messerschmitt TG500 and the Berkeley SE492s, but the little Italian cars show their rugged side and proved they were capable of incredible durability. Reputed to be the smallest car to complete a world circumnavigation, a 1969 Fiat 500 travelled 32,000 road kilometers in less than 100 days. In 2005 a 1973 500 took a 16,000 km trip travelling through Russia for a 100 day journey. Its progress was documented by newspaper and television stations worldwide and eventually a book entitled La bizzarra impresa ('The bizarre exploit') was published about the trip. In 2007 this same car became the first Fiat 500 to reach the Sahara dunes was taken around the Mediterranean Sea for over 10,000 kilometers.

The Fiat 500 was produced from 1957 until 1975 and was replaced with the Fiat 126. The 500 R was sold alongside the 126 for two years before the 500 was retired. More than 3.6 million Fiat 500 cars were sold during its lifetime and at end the production had been outsourced to a Polish company called FSM. The 126 never reached the same popularity as its predecessor in Italy. In March of 2007 Fiat debuted the all-new 500 model, based on the '04 Fiat Trepiuno concept. Its arrival coincided with fifty years since the original 500. The new 500 is also dubbed the bambino and competes with the Mini Cooper and the Volkswagen Beetle.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_500
http://www.vihti500.info/history-of-fiat500.php
http://www.fiat500america.com/fiat500-history/

By Jessica Donaldson
 
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