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Abarth reveals new all-electric 500e hot hatch. Image by Abarth.

Abarth reveals new all-electric 500e hot hatch
The tiny sports car has done the unthinkable and swapped out the petrol engine for a battery and an electric motor.
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What's all this about?

News that Abarth has revealed its new high-performance version of the 500 city car won’t sound particularly amazing to many. But the arrival of Abarth’s first electric car should be enough to raise a few eyebrows. So here it is: the first electric Abarth. Confusingly, it shares its name – 500e – with the Fiat on which it is based, but Abarth claims it’s a much more performance-orientated creation…

So what's powering the newbie?

The Abarth 500e comes with the same 42kWh battery pack as the standard Fiat 500e, but it has a much more powerful motor. Where the Fiat produces 116hp, the Abarth churns out 136hp – and that’s in its restrained, range-friendly Turismo setting. In the more performance-orientated Scorpion Street or Scorpion Track modes, it’ll produce a much more impressive 155hp.

Abarth hasn’t confirmed the official range of the new 500e, but it has said the move to electric power is more about performance than economy. However, the acceleration figures suggest the 500e is slower than the petrol-powered Abarth 695. Getting from a standstill to 62mph takes seven seconds, but Abarth claims the instant torque of the electric motor makes the 500e faster around town and on a race track.

Really? How so?

According to Abarth, the longer wheelbase, wider track and better weight distribution of the 500e makes the electric car more than a second faster around Fiat’s Balocco test track than the petrol-powered 695. And around town, the electric motor makes the 500e 50 per cent faster from 20 to 40km/h – but that won’t necessarily mean much to fans of the breed.

But surely it’ll lose the most important aspect of an Abarth: the noise?

Yes and no. Of course, with a battery and an electric motor on board, there’s no farty exhaust note, but Abarth claims you’ll still be able to hear the trademark “Abarth roar”. That comes courtesy of a new optional Sound Generator system, which reproduces the sound of an Abarth petrol engine.

Of course, if you’d rather, you can have a more EV-specific sound that for some reason includes guitar noises when the car is switched on or off, or when it passes 12mph. It also produces an external “jingle” that will supposedly be “recognisable by Scorpion fans”.

At least it still looks like an Abarth...

It does indeed. As usual, it’s very much a Fiat-500-on-steroids image, albeit a Fiat 500e this time. More aggressive bumpers, Abarth-specific wheels and grey door mirror caps all set the performance model apart, as does the new electrified Scorpion logo.

Electric motor aside, what do you get for your money?

Abarth hasn’t confirmed pricing for the new 500e just yet, but it has announced a high-specification Scorpionissima launch edition model. That version comes with 18-inch grey alloy wheels, rear privacy glass and a choice of either Acid Green or Poison Blue paintwork. Inside, there’s a grey dashboard ring, steel pedals and steel door sill plates, while Alcantara features heavily on the sports seats and steering wheel.

Standard equipment also includes heated front seats, a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system and satellite navigation, as well as a digital instrument display and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Also included as standard is a rear-view camera, climate control and automatic lights and wipers.

What about charging?

The Abarth 500e is equipped with an 85kW charging system that allows it to reach 80 per cent of a full charge in 35 minutes. Abarth has not yet told us how far the 500e will travel on a single charge, but the engineers have told us to expect a range in excess of 250km (155 miles)

So how much is it?

Abarth hasn’t said much on that front just yet, but we’re expecting it to cost significantly more than the standard Fiat 500e, which comes in at just over £30,000. The company has confirmed order books for the Scorpionissima model open today (November 22) ahead of first deliveries in June 2023.

James Fossdyke - 22 Nov 2022

2023 Abarth 500e Reveal. Image by Abarth.2023 Abarth 500e Reveal. Image by Abarth.2023 Abarth 500e Reveal. Image by Abarth.2023 Abarth 500e Reveal. Image by Abarth.2023 Abarth 500e Reveal. Image by Abarth.

2023 Abarth 500e Reveal. Image by Abarth.2023 Abarth 500e Reveal. Image by Abarth.2023 Abarth 500e Reveal. Image by Abarth.2023 Abarth 500e Reveal. Image by Abarth.2023 Abarth 500e Reveal. Image by Abarth.

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