It might look the same at first glance, but this 2021 Fiat 500 is a new-generation model with a twist: it's electric only, and always will be.
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Images of the 2021 Fiat 500e electric car have emerged in the online press, offering a first clear look at the new-generation hatch.

As revealed last year, the new 500 will be offered in electric form only, expected to be sold alongside the now 13-year-old petrol model rather than as an outright replacement.

Details for the new model are still to be made official, but Fiat Chrysler marketing boss Olivier Francois told the UK's Auto Express last year that it will boast "the same size proportions" as the current model.

Despite its shared dimensions, the new 500e rides on a new-generation dedicated electric platform, ruling out any further investment in petrol-powered variants when the existing line retires.

Likewise, its styling, while 'look again' evolutionary, is new across every panel.

Going only by these leaked images, the new 500e appears to wear wider and more noticeably flared guards at both ends, set beneath a more distinct character line with higher-set, integrated door handles.

Up front, the styling changes are similarly subtle. The headlights appear wider, while the iconic snout takes on a broader and sharper look. A large 500e badge (styled as 50e, with the crossbar of the e inside the second zero) replaces the Fiat logo.

New tail lamps are also featured at the rear, and while the model shown here wears a 500c-style folding roof, there is no badging to indicate this is a convertible variant of an as-yet unseen hard-top model. This, therefore, may be the only design intended for the new 500e.

Inside boasts the most obvious changes, with an all-new dash design, a large centre display, a smaller driver display and a new steering wheel. A new centre console can also be seen here, along with what appears to be a storage cubby beneath the main display.

Reports online claim Fiat will build 80,000 examples of the 500e each year, a target driven largely by CO2 regulations in Europe and the US.

Technical details have not been revealed, but buyers can likely expect the new 500e to outdo the 160-kilometre driving range of the previous model. Reports suggest a number closer to 200 kilometres, putting the 500e in the range of the Honda e and Renault Twingo.

Watch for more on the new 500e to come in the hours ahead, and word on whether it will be offered in right-hand drive.

Below: the current Fiat 500c