Editor’s note: Following my request in the previous magazine I was pleased to hear from member Andre Abadie who owns an electric 500, here is his article.
I had been in the market for a classic Fiat 500 for several years but couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger as I was concerned about the upkeep and reliability. Additionally, my job is focused on environmental and climate issues and it was challenging for me to justify buying a car with a petrol engine, despite how frugal it may be. I had instead thought about a new electric car but, as I don’t need a car for commuting, it didn’t make sense to invest in that much hardware (and software) for the purposes of running around London at weekends and the odd evening out.
But then, on a whim, I thought I’d see if there was anyone in the market converting classic Fiat 500s into electric vehicles, figuring that someone had to have come up with the very same idea. And sure enough, I found an article on the work that Richard Morgan was doing at Electric Classic Cars in Wales. I contacted Richard and he steered me to his colleagues at Classic Chrome in London who had two demonstration cars on site that I could test drive. Fast forward a few weeks and I was the proud owner of the first of Richard’s electric Fiat 500 conversions, a light blue 1965 Fiat 500F.
There were a few teething problems with the suspension given that I had upgraded to a larger motor and additional 4th Tesla battery which added a fair amount of weight to such a slight frame! But the replacement of the leaf spring with one from a Fiat 126 did the trick. The car has been an absolute pleasure to use for zipping around London (and further afield to parts of Kent and Surrey), and is not shy about outpacing most vehicles from traffic light to traffic light given the added oomph from the upgraded AC 20 96v 65HP motor.
I’m loving the car and being electric has made all the difference for me as it’s easy to maintain and has no regard for the ULEZ in London. Parking in London is a cinch as I just find the nearest available charging station (which are always available) and top up when I’m about town. I’ve entered my Fiat 500F in the London to Brighton Classic Car Rally on June 2nd which will be the only electric vehicle on show. The range of the vehicle is around 100 miles (so I’ll need to recharge in Brighton). I highly recommend anyone to look into the cars that Richard is converting. Kits are available too for those who are more technically savvy.