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Price, fuel economy and range, finance and depreciation

The cheapest electric 500, the Action, which always has the smaller battery, starts at £23,495, or £21,995 with the plug-in car grant. Save for the Smart EQ Fortwo, that makes it the cheapest new electric car (discounting the Renault Twizy and Citroën Ami) on sale in the UK since the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo were both discontinued. And compared with the Smart, the Fiat offers significantly more space, seats and range.

Compared with petrol versions of the Volkswagen Up and Hyundai i10, or even superminis like the Seat Ibiza, the Fiat is still very expensive, of course, but that’s the case for most EVs.

At the upper end of the model range, with top-level versions priced in the low-£30,000s, the Fiat is slightly cheaper than an equivalent Peugeot e-208 (which offers more space and more range), while a Vauxhall Corsa-e or Renault Zoe are similar money. A Mazda MX-30 is cheaper still but offers less range.

Speaking of range, Fiat’s claimed 199 miles was made to look optimistic during our testing, to say the least. With some motorway usage, 140 miles proved to be a more realistic estimation of available range during test driving in admittedly fairly cold weather. If you stay within the city and if the weather’s ideal while you’re doing it, you might eke out 160. Frustratingly, the range indicator tends to be optimistic, too, when you set off with a full charge.

Charging speeds are decent, but no more. The smaller battery tops out at 50kW, while the bigger battery can charge at 85kW, which means that a 0-80% charge takes 35 minutes. That is consistent with our experience.

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