Currently reading: Electric Fiat 500 could be given petrol engine
Current petrol 500 could be replaced by a converted 500 EV as new EU cybersecurity rules come into force

The electric Fiat 500 could be retrofitted with a petrol engine to replace the ageing combustion-powered 500, which faces being pulled from sale in Europe later this year due to new cybersecurity laws, according to reports.

Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera first reported that Fiat sent a letter to its suppliers asking if they could fulfil an increase in production levels at its plant in Mirafiori, Italy, to 175,000 cars per year. 

Trade publication Automotive News Europe (ANE) cited suppliers that claim this increase of almost 100,000 cars (compared with the 77,260 built at Mirafiori in 2023) would almost entirely comprise petrol-engined 500s.

The unprecedented prospect of retrofitting an electric car with a combustion engine reportedly comes because of forthcoming new cybersecurity requirements in the EU.

Their introduction would prevent the existing petrol-engined 500 – which has been built in Tychy, Poland, since its 2007 launch – from remaining on sale without being rehomologated at substantial cost.

Fiat 500c front tracking

The same rules will soon bring an end to sales of the Porsche Macan and 718 Boxster/Cayman in the EU.

Although the UK’s automotive industry typically follows EU precedent, those cars will remain on sale here, suggesting that the Tychy 500 could too get a stay of execution.

ANE reported that Fiat has yet to sign off on converting the 500 EV to petrol power. It's possible that it could decide to update the Tychy 500 yet again, as it did with the related Fiat Panda, which was granted a stay of execution until at least 2027.

However, ANE added that the 500 EV's platform is an evolution of that from the Alfa Romeo Mito and the car is built on the old Mito production line, suggesting everything is already in place for a petrol conversion. The process would take 18-24 months nonetheless, reported ANE.

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The petrol 500 is a crucial model for Fiat. According to figures from market analyst Jato Dynamics, 173,187 Fiat and Abarth 500 models were sold across Europe last year, of which 108,943 were petrols.

Fiat has struggled to generate strong demand for the 500 EV. It last month reduced shifts at Mirafiori due to slow sales and has the option of completely pausing the factory if they don't pick back up.

Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin Autocar
Title: Editorial Assistant, Autocar

As a reporter, Charlie plays a key role in setting the news agenda for the automotive industry. He joined Autocar in July 2022 after a nine-month stint as an apprentice with sister publication, What Car?. He's previously contributed to The Intercooler, and placed second in Hagerty’s 2019 Young Writer competition with a feature on the MG Metro 6R4

He is the proud owner of a Fiat Panda 100HP, and hopes to one day add a lightweight sports car like an Alpine A110 or a Lotus Elise S1 to his collection.

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shiftright 20 March 2024

EV sales in general are waning in favor of hybrids. Even Alfa Romeo, who had pledged to go all EV has leaked the next Giulia will have an ICE version. As a current satisfied Abarth 500 Essesse owner, I welcome a petrol version of the new 500.

si73 20 March 2024
Slow sales of the EV can only be because of costs, it's a great little thing but is, like many other EVs, far too expensive.
Being slightly larger would improve the usability of the 500 no doubt, so a petrol equivalent to the EV would be pretty good I'd have thought.
artill 20 March 2024
si73 wrote:

Slow sales of the EV can only be because of costs, so a petrol equivalent to the EV would be pretty good I'd have thought.

Whilst i agree that a petrol version will be good, i think there are plenty of reasons people dont want an EV beyond cost to buy. Such as no where to charge at home, needing to drive further than the EV range in 1 day, the cost of insurance, the concerns of reliability, depreciation, and i am sure there are plenty more. For me an EV would need to be much less expensive than the petrol alternative to make it worth the agro etc.