This effect is felt even more when you’re reversing the car and being naturally more cautious, making low-speed manoeuvres tricky. It’s a smooth and refined car, then, which uses the benefits of electric drive and tailors them to the type of car they’re in rather than over-egging them. It's sad to see what was once a thriving and innovative company descend into selling small scale specialist products - even though some may be decent ones.

The Telegraph values your comments but kindly requests all posts are on topic, constructive and respectful. The wheels attack bumps and potholes, drain covers are traversed noisily and there’s a gritty quality in the way the wheels roll on the sun-cracked roads of the Piedmont capital. This and the regenerative braking issue may well have been solved by the time we drive a fully production-ready example of the car, though. Driven blind it’s unlikely that you’d notice any difference between this and 1.2-litre petrol engine it technically replaces – both offer near as makes no odds 70bhp and 0-62mph times around 14 seconds, but Fiat claims the new motor is between 20-30% more efficient.

The steering is light, which is a boon around town, but we felt it a bit too light for confident driving on more open roads.

But an expected starting price of about £21,000 for the base car will usefully undercut its Mini and Honda rivals, before all of the cost of ownership benefits any electric car brings. Powertrain, Charging, and Handling On the upside, it is a bit peppier, smoother, and quieter than the gas-powered 500. A 42kWh battery pack translates to a claimed range of just under 200 miles in 'mixed' driving conditions, although Fiat reckons 250 is easily possible if you're just running around town, allowing the regenerative brakes to recover lots of lost energy before sending it back to the battery. ft Transmission: Single ratio transaxle0-60 Time: 9.1 secondsTop Speed: Limited to about 90 or so, I think?Drivetrain: Front-Wheel DriveCurb Weight: 2,980 LBSSeating: 4 people (though the ones in back won't be thrilled)MPG: 122 MPGe City/108 MPGe Highway/116 MPGe CombinedRange: 87 miles/chargeCharge times: ~30 min Fast Charge 240V/24 hours 120V, MSRP: $32,500 (Various rebates can get it down to about $23,000). The current 500 will stay on sale alongside the new model, complete with its recent mild hybrid engine upgrade. Job done, others might, given how looks are the chief reason so many will purchase the 500 anyway. The switch to electric power also allows a nod to the classic 500's smooth front end, as the rear-engined original didn't need a grille at the front either. It’s a brave move by Fiat and, as well as being a good-looking city car, this new electric Cinquecento is a car you’d want to use for a lot more than simly pootling around town. There are still a few niggles to be worked out, but the electric Fiat 500 has all the makings of a superb city car, just like its predecessors. DC rapid-charging is standard, with a full charge coming in as little as 35min from an 85kW DC charger if you can find one. Based on a new, lightweight floorpan, the 500e’s excellent 199-mile range gives it an advantage over the immediate opposition.

Inside two adults will feel nearly as well acquainted as if they were in a Caterham, and those poky dimensions make decisive town manoeuvres a breeze. Here’s how to sign up, pay and charge, Electric cars aim to be 'green', but what about their batteries? If BMW were true to the Mini it would be innovative and not just another overgrown fat BMW with a Mini badge on it. Our rundown of the very best used hybrid cars can help, The range of electric cars is continually improving. First impressions of this pre-production cabriolet around Turin are of a good looking but hardly tiny car. It’s only the third ground-up 500 created by Fiat in 63 years, and the design team behind it deserve as hearty a pat on the back as the team behind its 1957 and 2007 predecessors.

A less lavish entry-level version costing in the region of £21,000 is a distinct possibility; this would give the Fiat a trump card to play against the shorter-range Honda e and MINI Electric in the chic electric city-car battle. Cabin tech … Confusingly, though, this older car will retain the exact same name. That said, seat comfort itself leaves something to be desired, even on a short drive, and the 500 still may prove not to be much of a motorway companion. It’s then that we are expecting the price to drop to about £24,500 (without PiGG), though we’re not sure if those cars will have the same 42kWh battery. Maybe Fiat's future lies in low volume niche products, but surely the group has enough of these already. This prototype more than lives up to expectations. 0–60 mph in 8.7 seconds. Normal is much like driving a regular automatic, while Range ups the regenerative braking force to allow you to drive without touching the brakes, the car slowing down as you come off the accelerator and putting energy back into the battery. Electric power feels well suited to a car like the 500. For tips and advice, visit our Advice section, or sign up to our newsletter here, To talk all things motoring with the Telegraph Cars team join the Telegraph Motoring Club Facebook group here. Will there be a still-cheaper battery-electric Panda on the same base? Fiat takes a leap into the future (and the past) with the third-generation Cinquecento.