Icon’s Jonathan Ward estimates this 500 Giardiniera has three times more horsepower than stock.
What happens when the little two-cylinder in your Fiat 500 just doesn’t cut it anymore? Go electric. Jonathan Ward’s Icon 4×4 and Stealth EV fit this Fiat 500 Giardiniera with six Tesla batteries and an electric motor, transforming it from a cute affectation to a daily-driver classic. It’s pretty much perfect.
Now I have to admit, I’ve been a little cold on EV conversions for classic cars. In the case of an electric Ferrari 308 or a Jaguar E-Type, their engines define their character—getting rid of them just seems wrong. But with the 500, the original two-cylinder wasn’t anything all that special in the first place, and it’s probably underpowered for many American roads. An electric conversion changes the character of a 500, yes, but as Ward points out in this video, it makes it genuinely usable, too. That’s what tripling the horsepower will do.
Being a product of Ward, this 500 has been given lavish updates that maintain the car’s aesthetics while improving functionality. The fake Veglia-branded gauge for battery charge is an especially nice touch.
Ward and Icon are best known for resto-modded off-roaders, but I think they could have success with electric 500s, too. This one is just that lovely.