Mamma mia, this thing is sweet!
This 1966 Fiat Giardinetta is likely to be the coolest car you’ll see all day. Maybe all week. Basically a Fiat Cinquecento (500) stretched to station wagon proportions, this particular Giardinetta has been electrified by our friends over at Stealth EV. Meanwhile, every other detail has been gone through and been upgraded or replaced by the folks at ICON. Practically the only thing untouched is the bodywork. The result? The Icon 1966 600 Giardinetta Derelict Fiat EV (we don’t know why they refer to it as a 600, since the Giardinetta was based on the 500, but, hey). Though perhaps unassuming, it is true bellissima to both behold and drive.
If you haven’t already, we highly recommend clicking play and going for a ride with ICON’s Jonathon Ward while he discusses the technical details of what they’ve done to the little Italian, along with the driving experience. We’ll cover the electric part for you, just in case you’re pressed for time.
The tiny engine that was originally located in the rear has been swapped for an air-cooled, electric induction motor: an AC 35 HPEVS rated for 82 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque, to be exact. It gets its marching orders from a Curtis controller. Bolted up to the cars transaxle, the transmission has been locked into 3rd gear, making operation a pretty straightforward affair. The car now possesses a lot more horses than it ever had, and though not a race car by any stretch, is extremely responsive.
The battery that supplies the energy for the 144-volt system consists of six Tesla modules, adding up to 30 kWh. Battery management duties fall to a system from Orion. Located under the hood, the energy pack holds enough juice to take it over 120 miles on a charge while moving at 60 mph. Certainly, 150 miles while puttering about town would be possible.
To handle the extra weight, the brakes have been upgraded, and the suspension beefed up with coil overs. According to Ward, the revamped vehicle goes down the Interstate quite nicely, especially for a car this size.
Beautifully shot and well narrated, be sure to take nine-and-a-half minutes to enjoy all the footage and acquaint yourself with the many little touches that make this tiny car a huge conversion success. Enjoy!