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City car isn't going all electric after all: Fiat 500e mild hybrid coming to bump sales of Kia Picanto and Suzuki Swift rival

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Fiat 500e La Prima. (Image: Tom White)
Fiat 500e La Prima. (Image: Tom White)

Fiat has confirmed a hybrid version of the 500e electric car will be released in 2026 following slower than expected sales of the EV at home and abroad.

The new hybrid city car, to be known as the 500e Ibrida, will be produced at Turin’s Mirafiori plant alongside the existing electric car.

Unsurprisingly, there are political reasons surrounding the decision with a need to keep Fiat's Mirafiori plant flowing with production for the local market. Last year, only 64,244 500es found homes in Europe compared to 108,943 combustion models (which are built in Poland).

To satiate some of this demand, the 500e Ibrida will use a 1.0-litre mild-hybrid three-cylinder ‘FireFly’ petrol engine as found in the Fiat Panda that develops 51kW and 92Nm.

The new car will use the same platform as the 500e which is not the bespoke STLA small platform but an electric capable version of the Alfa MiTo’s SCCS architecture.

The 500e hybrid will be highly Italian with its engine produced in Termoli, the exhaust in Napoli and gearbox at its home Mirafiori plant.

“Italy serves as our foundation, our driving force and our future”, says CEO Olivier Francois.

Fiat 500e and Fiat CEO Olivier Francois.
Fiat 500e and Fiat CEO Olivier Francois.

“And Mirafiori is one of our engines which represents Italy, its people, its values, its pride and the 500.

“But today, 90 per cent of Mirafiori production goes abroad. To increase the number of 500s on the road in Italy and to answer the Italian customers, we have decided to produce the new 500 Ibrida”, he added.

Naturally, the hybrid 500e will cost less than its electric counterpart which is dear in Australia at $52,500 for the La Prima. No Australian plans have been announced for the 500e Ibrida but it would be a unique option alongside the Kia Picanto, Suzuki Swift and MG3.

The previous-gen combustion Fiat 500 is currently built at Stellantis’ Tychy plant in Poland to satisfy the more affordable end of the European and overseas markets. It is understood this plant is where Leapmotor affordable electric cars will be built in the future.

The Fiat 500 – that launched in 2008 on the Fiat Mini platform – won’t end its life just yet, though, with production expected to move to Algeria.

John Law
Deputy News Editor
Born in Sydney’s Inner West, John wasn’t treated to the usual suite of Aussie-built family cars growing up, with his parents choosing quirky (often chevroned) French motors that shaped his love of cars. The call of motoring journalism was too strong to deny and in 2019 John kickstarted his career at Chasing Cars. A move to WhichCar and Wheels magazine exposed him to a different side of the industry and the glossy pages of physical magazines. John is back on the digital side of things at CarsGuide, where he’s taken up a role as Deputy News Editor spinning yarns about the latest happenings in the automotive industry. When he isn’t working, John can be found tooling around in either his 2002 Renault Clio Sport 172 or 1983 Alfasud Gold Cloverleaf.  
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