Fiat will keep the 500 badge alive with an all-electric relaunch in Geneva next year, as FCA looks to sacrifice volume in favour of higher profit margins and some green-car credibility.
"It’s kind of an urban Tesla, with beautiful style," he explained.
"Italianess, dolce vita in an electric car. It’s the polar opposite of Centoventi," he went on, referencing the boxy Fiat concept revealed in Geneva.
The car will be built on a new platform dedicated to electric vehicles, and will have the "same size proportions" as the current car, but with a distinctly more futuristic bent.
Pricing hasn't been determined, but the EV 500 is expected to be a more premium proposition than the current model, with a higher price to match. There won't be an internal-combustion model, but the current car will carry on offering a more conventional powertrain and lower starting price.
“The appeal of the 500 is so strong we may not lose customers,” Francois said of the more upmarket new model.