Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
If you want to keep things as cheap as possible, there's a Fiat 500 with a 24kWh battery and a 94bhp electric motor. It's not our favourite version, though – its official 0-62mph time of 9.6sec may be quicker than a Smart EQ ForTwo but it's still relatively sluggish by modern electric car standards.
More importantly, its official range is just 115 miles, and based on our drives of it so far, you're unlikely to get anywhere near that in real-world driving conditions. The Honda E (138 miles) and Mini Electric (145 miles) can do much better. The 24kWh version is available only in hardtop form, so if you want the convertible Fiat 500 you’ll need to upgrade to the larger 42kWh battery.
The ride is fairly choppy but not uncomfortably so, and while softer rivals, including the Peugeot e-208 feel calmer and more settled along faster roads, the 500 is upset less than most small cars by potholes and expansion joints around town.
The 500 is not out of its depth on a motorway – which is handy because its healthy range between charges makes longer journeys a genuine possibility. Mind you, it's quite noisy at faster speeds, with lots of wind noise and far less sound-deadening material than in an e-208 or Honda E.
The fabric-roofed version does an even worse job of isolating you from the outside world, although when you fold the roof down you're not blown around as much as you might imagine. That’s partly because it has an ‘air cap’ on the top of its windscreen, which diverts air over the heads of those sitting in the front.