THE new Fiat 500 is the first fully electric car from its Italian makers now part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group.

The new generation of the iconic little city car has a range of up to 199 miles and receives 85kW fast charging as standard with production of the new 500 returning to its birthplace of Turin, Italy where the first model was created 63 years ago.

Range and charging times are two key considerations for customers these days. The lithium-ion batteries, with a capacity of 42kWh, give the new 500 a range of up to 199 miles in the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) cycle. To optimise charging time, the New 500 is equipped with an 85kW fast charge system taking only five minutes to build up a sufficient energy reserve to travel 30 miles, more than the average daily commute. Using a fast charger can also power the battery to 80 percent in just 35 minutes.

The New 500 has three driving modes: Normal, Range and Sherpa, which can be selected to suit your driving style or requirements.

Sherpa mode optimises the available resources to reduce fuel consumption to a minimum, enabling it to reach the destination set on the navigation system or the nearest charging station. This driving mode adjusts various parameters: maximum speed is limited to 50mph; accelerator response is managed in order to reduce energy consumption; and deactivation of both the climate control system and heated seats (the driver has the option of activating them at any time).

Normal mode is as close as possible to driving a vehicle with a normal combustion engine, while Range mode activates the ‘one-pedal-drive’ function. By selecting this driving mode, the new 500 can be driven with the accelerator pedal alone. Releasing the accelerator causes much greater deceleration than with a normal combustion engine, almost as if the brake pedal was pushed.

The electric motor has an output of 87kW, providing a maximum speed of 93mph (self-limited) and acceleration from zero to 62mph in nine seconds and zero to 31mph in 3.1 seconds.

Inside, the 500 is completely new, with clear references to its first generation.

There is more leg and shoulder space for occupants, while the flat floor houses the lithium batteries without compromising the luggage compartment capacity, which remains unchanged.

Unveiled in top specification guise of La Prima last week pre-orders have begun, priced at £29,000 on-the-road including the government’s Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG).