Technical details of the new city car have also surfaced. According to Automotive News Europe, which cites unnamed Italian sources, the new 500 will store its power in a 42kWh lithium ion battery pack that promises a 199-mile range. It is said to feature an in-built 85kW charger that can add 31 miles of range in five minutes and take the battery from empty to 80% capacity in as little as 35 minutes.
According to the reports, the battery powers a 114bhp motor that's good for a claimed top speed of 93mph.
Earlier this year, Fiat said it would invest €700 million (about £610m) on its Mini Electric rival, to include a new production line in Mirafiori, Italy. Fiat hopes to produce 80,000 examples of the new 500e.
The car will be sold alongside the existing 500, which will continue to be powered by conventional petrol engines as well as receiving styling and technical updates.
The all-new electric 500 will sit on a bespoke electric car platform, according to Fiat boss Olivier François, with the same platform potentially earmarked for use if the new Panda-inspired Centoventi concept makes production. The electric 500 will be a key part of Fiat's transformation in Europe into a brand focusing on small, electrified city cars.
"The car will stay true to everything you know about the 500, but will be entirely new," said François. "Under the skin, it will be radically different, but otherwise you will recognise the size and proportions.
“But it is a big statement, starting our electric path with the 500. We are doing it with that car for reasons of pricing. It is clear that we cannot sell an electric 500 for the same entry price of today’s 500, but what’s clear is that more than half of our 500 customers today do not buy entry-level models. In fact, for them a €24,000 [around £21,000] price is normal today.
“If you look at our electric competition, they are priced around €32,000. The leap then from €24,000 to €32,000 is not so much, especially if you factor in government grants for electric vehicles."
François refused to be drawn on whether the electric 500 could be rear-wheel drive like the original but said he would be open to the idea. He also said that an electric Abarth model could hold appeal.
The electric car platform that the 500e will sit on will be FCA Group developed. François said he would personally be open to sharing the technology with partners - the 500 platform has previously been shared with the Ford Ka, for instance – but he stressed that any such decision would have to be made at a group level.