Fiat 500 - Range, charging & running costs
A solid range figure and fast charging mean the Fiat 500 is usable outside the city
Fiat has taken a fresh approach with its third 500, switching production entirely to electric power. To help smooth the transition, buyers can still opt for the 'old' 500 with a mild-hybrid petrol engine but it's not yet known how long it will remain on sale.
Fiat 500 range & charging time
The new 500 has been designed from the ground-up to be an EV, and boasts an impressive 42kWh battery pack in the range-topper – that's more capacity than those in the Honda e or MINI Electric. Fiat says its official WLTP range figure is up to 199 miles, but that drivers should be able to manage up to 250 miles in the city, where speeds are lower and frequent deceleration puts more energy back into the battery.
These figures seem achievable in our tests, and we beat the 137-mile range of the Honda e, although the Renault ZOE does better, with a range of 245 miles from its 52kWh battery. The Fiat 500 with the larger battery supports fast charging at up to 85kW, providing an 80% charge in just 35 minutes or a 30-mile range bump (enough to cover most commutes) in just five minutes. A full charge using a 7.4kW home wallbox will take just over six hours, and Fiat is also planning a 3kW charger which can be plugged into a standard socket without requiring professional installation.
For buyers who aren't likely to take their 500 on longer trips, the more affordable Action trim and 23.9kWh battery could well suffice. It has an official range of 115 miles but Fiat says this can increase to 150 miles in city driving. As with most electric cars, you can expect less range in colder conditions.
Road tax is currently free for EVs, saving buyers around £150 a year. There are also big savings for business drivers, thanks to the 500 electric sitting in a very low band for Benefit-in-Kind liability.
The Fiat 500 has always been a cheap car to insure, and the electric version is no exception. The Action trim starts in group 15 out of 50, while the mid-range Icon version is only two groups higher. Even the range-topping La Prima is in the relatively low group 18.
Like most Fiat models, the 500 comes with a three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty, matching rivals like the Honda e and MINI Electric. However, the 500 electric does differ slightly from petrol and diesel versions, because its battery pack is also covered for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever arrives first.
Maintaining the Fiat 500 with an electric powertrain should be simpler and therefore cheaper than a petrol or diesel model. There are fewer consumable parts like oil and spark plugs for a start. Fiat typically offers customers servicing plans, allowing owners to spread the cost of maintenance over monthly payments.