In the year 2023, Fiat reintroduces the historic name of Fiat Topolino in the realm of Italian motoring. Although not an entirely new project, the Fiat Topolino serves as a companion model to the Citroen Ami and Opel Rocks-e, all belonging to the Stellantis group, which encompasses various automotive brands.
Some individuals may initially dismiss the notion of bestowing such an iconic name upon an electric quadricycle, especially considering that the original concept did not originate from Fiat. However, the underlying idea that drove the creation of the 1930 Topolino and the 2020 Ami remains remarkably similar, despite the 90-year gap that separates them.
The Fiat Topolino, officially known as the Fiat 500, is the result of a government directive aimed at designing an affordable and accessible car for the masses, thereby fulfilling the crucial need to provide Italians with motorized transportation. Prior to this initiative, car ownership had been restricted to the affluent class due to the high costs associated with purchasing and maintaining vehicles equipped with large engines, which were prevalent during the early 1900s.
In order to fulfill the request, two concurrent projects were undertaken. The first project capitalized on the existing technological standards at Fiat, while the second project, entirely novel, was entrusted to Oreste Lardone. Lardone had a clear vision: the new car should feature a 500 cm³ air-cooled twin-cylinder engine and be equipped with front-wheel drive, accommodating four seats. However, the initial prototype constructed caught fire immediately upon leaving the factory, leading to Lardone being removed from the project, and subsequently, the front-wheel drive was excluded from future Fiats.
Subsequently, the project was handed over to the promising Dante Giocosa, a young engineer who had played a role in the design of the Balilla. Giocosa developed a scaled-down version of the Balilla as a starting point. To minimize weight and production costs, he devised ingenious solutions, such as placing the radiator above the engine to eliminate the need for a water pump and employing gravity fuel feeding to eliminate the requirement for a fuel pump. Furthermore, the 500 became the first Turin brand car to forgo wooden structures for supporting the bodywork, instead utilizing folded sheet metal, which served as its own durable support structure.
The name “Mickey Mouse” was chosen, riding on the popularity of the Disney character with the same name. However, due to copyright issues, it was never officially adopted, even though it has been commonly referred to as such by everyone since its inception.
The Ami was also designed with the explicit objective of creating an electric vehicle accessible to all. To achieve this, unexplored solutions were embraced, such as the symmetrical design of its components (both the front and rear, as well as the two doors, are identical pieces), which were fashioned from recyclable materials.
Fiat Topolino 2023 Dimensions
Similar to its predecessor, the new Topolino exhibits remarkably compact dimensions when compared to the average measurements of conventional vehicles. This lightweight electric quadricycle falls into the moped category and has been purposefully crafted for urban environments. Its diminutive size harmonizes seamlessly with the notion of practicality and maneuverability, making it an ideal choice for city dwellers. Measuring a mere 2.40 meters in length, 1.39 meters in width, and 1.52 meters in height, the Topolino embodies the epitome of compactness. With its reduced wheelbase, this vehicle can execute a full inversion in a mere 7 meters, surpassing the maneuverability of a Smart car, which requires 8 meters for the same feat.
Fiat Topolino 2023 Cockpit
The new design of the quadricycle now features only two seats instead of the previous four, which was an inevitable change due to its lightweight nature. Despite the compact dimensions, the vehicle still offers a good level of habitability. This has been confirmed through our previous experience with the Ami model. The clever offset positioning of the seats maximizes the available space for the occupants, ensuring their comfort. Additionally, there is a dedicated compartment for shopping, thanks to a small 64-liter luggage area, which can be easily accessed from the interior.
The digital dashboard provides essential information about the battery status and includes several storage compartments for convenience. While there are no built-in multimedia systems or car radios, these features can easily be replaced by any smartphone, which can be securely placed in a specialized holder equipped with a USB port for charging.
The standard configuration of the vehicle will likely include LED headlights and a canvas sunroof. Compared to its French counterpart, this sunroof design should offer improved habitability during the warmer months.
Fiat Topolino 2023 Safety
The new Fiat model is distinguished by its inclusion of a robust and reliable tubular frame, thereby instilling a sense of security and compensating for the absence of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). While features such as Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Airbags, and automatic emergency braking are not present, this vehicle stands as the epitome of safety among the quadricycles presently available on the market, owing to its formidable structural composition. It is noteworthy that, given its primary purpose for urban mobility, the car’s solid framework ensures an unparalleled level of safety for its occupants.
Fiat Topolino 2023 Battery and warranty
The Topolino is an exclusively electric vehicle that shares its equipment with the Citroen from which it is derived. It is propelled by a low-power engine, allowing it to be driven by individuals holding an AM license or higher. The vehicle’s engine is powered by a 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, providing a maximum power output of 8 HP and enabling it to reach a self-limited top speed of 45 km/h. The Topolino features a single-gear gearbox and rear-wheel drive.
The battery, positioned in the lower part of the car, can be fully recharged in just 3 hours using a domestic current of 3 kW. The manufacturer claims a range of 75 km for this vehicle. It’s important to note that the aforementioned information is based on available data for the version currently on the market.
In terms of warranty coverage, the new Topolino is expected to be backed by a two-year warranty, while the battery will have an eight-year warranty period.
Fiat Topolino 2023 Price
Taking into consideration the guiding principle that brings together the new and old Topolino, we can speculate that the price of the vehicle will be relatively affordable. It is conceivable that the starting price could be set at approximately €7,600 according to the official price list. Moreover, it is likely that there will be multiple purchasing options available to potential buyers. For instance, various leasing packages will be offered for Citroen, with monthly payments starting from around €20. These leasing plans will provide high levels of customization and can be tailored to durations of up to 48 months.
Additionally, due to government incentives and the option of scrapping an existing vehicle, it is probable that the small Fiat model could be acquired for just under €6,000. These incentives, coupled with the possibility of trading in an old vehicle, will contribute to making the Fiat model more financially accessible for prospective customers.
Fiat Topolino 2023 Incentives
The Topolino belongs to the L6e category, which makes it eligible for eco-bonuses. These eco-bonuses are contributions provided by the Ministry of Economic Development to encourage the purchase of environmentally friendly vehicles. In the case of the L6e category, these contributions are available only to individuals who wish to buy electric vehicles, and the request for the contribution will be processed and paid by the seller.
The amount of the discount will be 30% of the vehicle’s list price, with a maximum cap of €3,000. However, if the buyer also chooses to scrap an old vehicle, the discount will increase to 40% of the total cost, with a maximum cap of €4,000.
Fiat Topolino 2023 Why buy it
For individuals needing to navigate urban areas, particularly those residing in large cities with increasingly stringent ZTL (Zona a Traffico Limitato) restrictions, the Topolino proves to be an ideal solution for embracing electric mobility. This vehicle offers greater practicality compared to a typical city car due to its smaller size, while also providing enhanced safety by shielding passengers from inclement weather conditions. With its affordability, especially when considering potential bonuses and scrappage incentives, as well as its compact dimensions ensuring easy parking, the Topolino emerges as an ideal transportation option for a wide range of individuals, from 14-year-olds possessing an AM license to professionals. Ultimately, owning a Fiat Topolino becomes a source of pride.