ABARTH is adding its first electric vehicle to its line up with the arrival next year of a 500e which is based on the Fiat 500 EV.
The performance arm of the Italian car maker has upped the power output of the electric motor used in the Fiat by 25bhp to 152bhp giving the Abarth a 0 to 62mph acceleration time of 7.2 seconds.
In testing Abarth says the 500e has lapped its test track in Italy a second faster than its petrol engined counterparts.
Recharging to 80 per cent capacity takes around half-an-hour
Olivier Francois, Fiat and Abarth's chief executive, said: "The new Abarth 500e is one of the most exciting launches in the history of the brand: a great new addition to the Abarth line-up.
"You may ask ‘why electric?'. Well, basically, performance made us do it: in fact, every change made in the Abarth is about getting the best driving performance. That's exactly how our founder, Carlo Abarth, always went at it. So, from that point of view, let's say that nothing has changed: better acceleration, better handling, more fun."
A sound generator is fitted to the Abarth 500e to reproduce the distinctive sound of the engine and the car will be introduced as a Scopionissima launch edition model of which 1,949 units will be produced - a nod to the year Abarth was formed.
Three drive modes are fitted - Turismo, Scorpion Street and Scorpion Track - which Abarth says help drivers get the most from the car while the EV also has a new sports bumper, special diffuser inserts at the rear and a new Scorpion logo for the electric age.
Hatchback versions come with rear privacy glass while canvas roofed convertibles will also be offered.
Prices are still to be announced but are expected to be in the mid-Â£30,000s and the car is scheduled for release in the middle of 2023 with members of the Abarth owner's club being given priority earlier ordering.