The confusing naming disguises the fact that this 500 is a completely new car. You could be forgiven for thinking it’s a re-engineered version of the existing car, but when you park it next to an older one, it becomes abundantly clear that cannot be the case: the new car’s size and proportions are just distinct enough that this can only be a new car.
Fiat is now part of Stellantis, of course, and most if not all of that group’s future EVs will use the CMP platform developed by PSA, which can accommodate petrol and diesel engines, hybrid powertrains and full EV tech. However, the 500 project began before the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA, and it rides on a bespoke EV skateboard platform. It remains to be seen if other Stellantis cars will be based on this architecture as well, or if all future models will use PSA’s technology.
Mechanically, it’s a relatively unadventurous recipe, using MacPherson struts for the front suspension and a torsion beam axle at the rear, as is the norm for a small front-drive car. Not going with rear-wheel drive might seem like a missed opportunity given both the 500’s history and the way the mass-EV market is developing technically, but the traction benefits of RWD are limited in low-powered compact cars like this, and not having a rear motor prevents the 500’s already small boot from becoming comically tiny.