New Fiat 500 is

electric

Fiat 500, 2020, front
Fiat 500, 2020, side
Fiat 500, 2020, interior

THE third generation of Fiat's popular 500 city car has been revealed as an electric-only model with a range of up to almost 200 miles and rapid charging times.

Priced from £29,000 after the current Government grant for low emission cars it is also three times more expensive than the cheapest version of the current model.

Production is switching back to Turin, Italy - where the very first 500s were built back in the late 1950s - and the electric car is not only bigger but in convertible guise is the only four-seat open top EV currently on sale.

Fiat says its new baby has a range of up to 199 miles on the WLTP cycle and a 42kWh lithium ion battery that can be recharged to 30 per cent capacity in just five minutes from a fast charging point.

An 80 per cent recharge takes 35 minutes while a full charge at home can be done in under six hours with a 7.4kW wallbox.

The car is more than two inches longer and wider and the wheelbase has been increased by almost an inch over the current version although it is still under four metres long.

Cleaner body lines come from a solid front with no main grille while the Fiat badge has been replaced with a 500 logo.

Acceleration is said to be in the region of nine seconds 0 to 60 with a top speed limited to 93mph and there is quick 0 to 30mph acceleration of three seconds.

The new 500 was revealed in high specification launch edition La Prima trim which is fully connected and has a good degree of autonomous driving features including adaptive cruise control, lane centring and all-round sensors which provide a drone-like view to avoid obstacles when parking or performing complex manoeuvres.

It is also the first Fiat Chrysler car to come with the company's new UConnect 5 infotainment system which is fully smartphone compatible and has a 10.25-inch high definition wide view touchscreen which dominates the dashboard.

Fiat has recently released a mild-hybrid powertrain in the current 500 and that will continue in production alongside the new model for the time being.

The electric car - which was due to have its premiere at the Geneva Motor Show before that was cancelled because of the coronavirus scare - will have three drive modes which include a so-called Sherpa setting for maximum efficiency.

There is also a range mode in addition to its normal setting which allows for single pedal operation and maximum regeneration from the electric motor.

As well as the La Prima models - of which only 500 are being produced - Fiat has also linked up with three Italian style icons Giorgio Armani, Bulgari and design company Kartell to produce one-off specials of the new electric car which are to be auctioned for charity.

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