Watch Bjorn Try Electrified Fiat 124 Sport Spider


Smart-Tesla batteries supply the power.

How fun is it to drive an electrified 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider? Well, judging by Bjorn Nyland‘s facial expressions as he hammers it in the video above, we’d have to say pretty stinkin’ fun. The Norwegian electric vehicle YouTuber, as you may have guessed from his most recent videos range-testing the Tesla Model 3, is in the U.S. for a visit. Apparently, he’s found time in his schedule to visit the folks from Electric GT, who are behind this particular project.

If the name of that outfit sounds familiar, they are the same people who converted a 1976 Ferrari 308 GTS, eventually selling it at a Barrett-Jackson auction for a cool $84,700. To some, this Fiat might not be in the same class as that sportscar, but with styling by Pininfarina — and more specifically, famous designer Tom Tjaarda — the 124 Sport Spider holds its own in our book.

When the convertible first rolled from factories, it was no powerhouse. Now, boasting twin AC motors it puts up some impressive stats. As you can see in the image above, output has been increased from 82 horsepower to 129 hp. The increase in torque is even more impressive: 98.83 pound-feet to 205 lb-ft. The result of the electric upgrade can be seen in its performance figures.

Where it used to take a lazy 12.2 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour, that same feat now takes only 6.75 seconds. Previously, its top speed had been 103.1 mph. With its electric drivetrain, it now maxes out at 125 mph. In fact, the only metric that has lessened in this conversion is its range. It could travel 273 miles on a tank of gas when new, but its 36 kWh worth of Tesla-via-Smart Fortwo battery modules shortens its leash to about 124 real-world miles.

Like many conversions that use lower voltage motors — these ones are said to be rated for 124 volts — the original gearbox has been retained. This allows drivers to still have plenty of torque available at higher speeds. While it seems it can cruise nicely or 3rd or even 4th gear, Nyland demonstrates the impressive acceleration that can be found in 2nd.

Though the first part of the video is all about the driving experience, we do get a look under the hood and inside the trunk later on. So, if you want to catch all the details, watch until the end. Enjoy!

Source: YouTube

Categories: Fiat, Videos

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15 Comments on "Watch Bjorn Try Electrified Fiat 124 Sport Spider"

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Bjorn has a streak of Fiat EV Sipdey Sense, when he “Hammers it”!

Thanks for posting that. Some sports car owners are on the fence about conversions, but this helps encourage us.

Two things: Shifting? I thought I’d miss shifting when I gave up my 5-speed manual ’95 Saturn SL for my first EV; I really don’t.

Also: I want so badly for an EV maker to come out with a full BEV Miata/Spyder competitor. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I was pretty disappointed when the Tesla Roadster II came out as a supercar way out of my price range instead of a Spyder.

Back in 2000 I got my mx-5 with an eye to bev conversion in the 2010s, but alas bev didn’t advance as fast as I was hoping, so I just gave it to the dealer when I got my 2015 Leaf.

I’d pay a lot for nissan’s e-plus powertrain in a nimble 300ZX package, sad that all BEVs these days are for soccermoms

sad that all BEVs these days are for soccermoms
Oh man, you are so very wrong.

The motor sound and gear whine fit a sports car just perfect.

I would imagine this car was a hoot to drive – the original certainly was.

But seeing as it is a FIAT, I sure wouldn’t put a stronger motor in it than the original engine. I’d expect clutch and transmission troubles in no time as those things didn’t have much ‘oversizing’ in them. All these people forget that 0-60 at 12 seconds was more than enough for a roadster.

At least they put a DECENT size battery in it (36 kwh), and a semi-decent charger (5 kw).

I wish FCA would do a modern 124 EV. Or Mazda an MX-5 EV.

Now, that’s the kind of dashboard I want in a car. Simple clean. No fancy iPad.

Shhhhhh. Don’t say that too loudly. A lot of people think that the ‘ipad’ dash is 100% the way forward.

Well, you can get a lot of cars without a fancy iPad, but their are not simple and clean. 120 buttons everywhere.

Very cool conversion. As an owner of both a BMW i3 and Triumph Spitfire, I routinely get the best of both worlds when it comes to efficient smooth electric transport and an old-school, snarling four-banger with shifter in hand. Initially, I had some trepidation about converting collectible cars to electric, but I’ve softened my stance since. Electric power is simply a blast to drive and retaining the clutch and transmission allows some of the involvement that makes sports cars so fun. The electric whine isn’t quite an melodic as a blatty exhaust on downshift, but it ain’t bad either. At first glance, I’d worry a bit about the Fiat’s longevity with an original transmission and differential. Those old gears weren’t designed for instant torque “hammer it!” driving, but like any resto-mod project, component upgrades are always possible.

Now it’s got me thinking about electric drive in my old Spit… again! 🙂

The Spider or any small 2 seater at the time, wasnt about power. It was about open roof stick shift fun. Something missing in most, possibly all cars now.

It is nice to not have a real job.