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Two new versions of the Fiat 500, a larger electric and

The Fiat 500 is gaining weight and enters fully electric mode.

The two new versions of the little italian style car will be presented this week at the Auto Show in Los Angeles: the "500th" is the first fully electric model offered in the United States while the "500L" has four doors and significantly more space than the usual version.

First Fiat 500 arrived in showrooms americaines there two years, promising a newer version stylisee less energy and the well-known 1950s. Since then drive at least four different versions have been set in motion.

The proliferation of models 500 mimics the strategy successfully deployed by BMW for its Mini Cooper. The German automaker has broadened the popularity of the car by offering models to suit different tastes and lifestyles. The 500 takes a similar tactic by offering convertible models, luxury and high performance.

The 500 needs a new life in the United States, where sales remain tiny compared to the rest of the planet. Fiat has produced more than 500 million since the global launch in 2007, but the 500 was soon make its way to the United States or seulemenbt 36,000 copies had been sold as of October.

The 500th is equipped with a lithium-ion battery that powers an electric motor of 111 horsepower. The battery can be recharged in less than four hours from a 240 volt station. The car can travel about 120 kilometers before needing to be recharged, and up to 150 km in the city. The electric cars are often better in the city since the energy generated by braking is used to recharge the battery.

The aerodynamics of the 500th was improved by about 13 percent. It is equipped with a new suspension that improves the workability. The 500th will get the equivalent of 2.03 litres/100 km in the city and 2.35 L/100 km on the highway.

The 500L has a 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbocharged 160 horsepower. The customer has the choice between an automatic or manual transmission has six speeds. This four-door version will be longer than 66 centimeters and 15 centimeters wider than the current 500. Interior is 42 percent more generous than the 500, according to Chrysler.

The 500th will be available only in California from the second quarter of 2013. 500L will be sold across North America in the middle of next year.

By Tom Krisher

Two new versions of the Fiat 500, a larger electric and picture #1

Two new versions of the Fiat 500, a larger electric and picture #2

Two new versions of the Fiat 500, a larger electric and picture #3

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