THE first fully electric model from Fiat has arrived with the release of the latest take on its classic 500 city car.
Reworked throughout the battery-powered new 500e is a car for the modern times and has a range of up to 199 miles on a full charge.
It is longer and wider than the conventional 500 and has its own looks with an aerodynamic front set off by a special 500e logo which replaces the Fiat badge on the nose.
Built at its spiritual home in Turin the 500 electric will sit alongside the current hybrid version of the second generation model which was launched in 2007 and is made in Poland.
As the latest iteration of the car which has become a living legend - the original made its debut 64 years ago - the newcomer brings the famous little car right up to date as Fiat sets out to become an all-electric brand by 2030.
The electric model is six centimetres longer and wider than the traditional 500 and has a wheelbase two centimetres more at 2.32 metres which adds up to better handling and more comfort.
It is priced from £22,995 before the £2,500 Government grant for low emission vehicles and that makes it one of the cheapest EVs on the market.
The four model line up tops out from £29,995 for high specification La Prima grade cars and convertible versions are included in the range priced from £29,145 to £32,995.
Two battery options are available with entry-level Action trim models coming with a 24kWh system that gives them a range of 118 miles.
All other versions have a 42kWh battery which gives longer range and comes in from £26,495 in Passion trim.
The 24kWh system develops 95 horsepower resulting in a 0 to 62mph acceleration time of 9.5 seconds, a maximum of 84mph and full recharge times ranging from eight hours 45 minutes from a domestic supply to two hours 30 minutes from a wallbox charger.
The longer range set up produces 118hp which reduces the acceleration time to nine seconds and increases top speed to 93mph. However, recharging time also rises to more than 15 hours from a domestic supply and four hours 15 minutes from a wallbox.
Both systems can be replenished to 80 per cent capacity in around 30 minutes from a fast charger.
Three drive modes are available regardless of powertrain and each is as impressive as relevant to the car's performance.
Normal is the default mode which is fine for regular driving on open roads where the 500 is as lively as necessary.
A Range setting allows for more brake energy regeneration and for single pedal operation - ideal for easy driving in town traffic.
The car also has what Fiat is calling a Sherpa mode designed for use where the vehicle's range is low and moderates power usage to ensure either the destination or nearest charging station is reached,
The difference in available range - as shown on the trip computer - is marked and on the 42kWh version we tried it showed a 144 mile range in Normal mode on a 91 per cent charge.
In Range the available mileage was 147 miles and in the Sherpa setting that increased to 163.
On a drive of some 35 miles in a variety of conditions ranging from town centre traffic to open roads and dual carriageways and using all three settings, the available power fell to 74 per cent and the shown available mileage figures had reduced to 129 in Sherpa, 117 in the Range setting and 112 in Normal.
There is also a full array of driver aids available including lane departure warnings, traffic sign recognition and automatic emergency braking while it is also the first city car to be fitted with a semi-autonomous set up which allows it to almost drive itself under certain conditions.
For a little car there are plenty of ‘big vehicle' features and that just adds to its appeal as does the high tech layout of the interior with a 10.25-inch display screen, digitised instrument panel and modern switchgear on higher trim versions.
Boot space ranges from 185 to 550 litres and that is the same as the non-electric 500.
It is fully connected with full smartphone compatibility, voice control and comes with Fiat's latest sat nav system designed for use in the electric age to include charging stations and their operational status.
And in keeping with the new 500's eco credentials the car is also trimmed in Seaqual fabric that uses material recycled from plastics in the sea as well as other touches such as an imprint of the Turin skyline on the phone charging pad and other 500 decoration in the door pulls.
Other features include an auto hold parking brake facility which is so handy in traffic and electric door locks which are simple to operate.
It has retained all of the features which have made the 500 so loveable over the years and built on them to create an utterly modern model which is just so right for current trends.