There are few good options when it comes to electric convertibles, but you can enjoy the good life in the Fiat 500C
If there’s one thing foreigners can’t keep up with when it comes to the British, it’s our relationship with the weather. We talk about it almost exclusively, indicating an unhealthy level of obsession. We spend maybe two-thirds of the year trudging through the cold and wet, looking forward to warm days and sunshine, and as soon as they appear, we complain about the heat and relentless brilliance non-stop.
There’s that cliche that Eskimos have 50 words for snow, but Brits have to have twice as many for rain, whether it’s drizzling, drizzling, spitting, buckets, tips or just plain good weather for ducks. It’s a social art form.
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No wonder, then, that the convertible has never really taken off here, apart from a few hardened souls. And even then, how many convertibles do you see driving with the roof up, even on a gloriously clear day? It’s almost tempting to enjoy the weather, you see.
What would work really well is some sort of townhouse, a car with the structural integrity of a number with a metal roof, but it can be open to the elements. If we then decided that we wanted to go electric at the same time, then there are really only two options to go for. Well, there are literally only the two options at the moment – it’s between the Smart EQ Fortwo Cabrio and the Fiat 500C.
The Smart shuts itself down for its meager range, although on the plus side you won’t run out of juice before the weather changes. No, unless you go to Italy and buy a chopped up Tesla from those savvy bodybuilders at Ares Design, the Fiat 500C and its cloth roof is the only show in town this summer. How is it that people who appreciate a little vitamin D have been so left out of the circuit of the electric revolution? Maybe they’re just more inclined to walk rather than drive.
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The convertible version of Italy’s delightful little electric 500 starts at a slightly dazzling £29,145 for the Passion spec model, going up to £32,995 for the top spec La Prima version of the car with all its bells and whistles. None of them have real bells and whistles, mind you, you’d have to buy those separately.
The 500C gets a hefty 42 kWh battery that offers a range of 286 miles – more than double what you would need to get from the town of Lichfield in Staffordshire over the 134 miles to the coast which the town claims is the furthest point. in the UK is from the coast. And back of course.
Even in that entry-level Passion model you get a fair amount of equipment – automatic air conditioning, wireless CarPlay/Android Auto, keyless go and rear parking sensors – and the higher spec electric 500 (which includes all convertible versions) can also charge quickly at 85kW.
Granted, the roof does take 25 seconds to close, but you can do this at speeds up to 100 km/h. You could indeed accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h and decelerate at least twice while the roof is closing. But it is in any case not like a normal convertible where you can only raise the roof at a walking pace. All the better to enjoy that last glimpse of the sun as the raindrops begin to splash over the eco-friendly seat fabric.
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Best electric car to enjoy the summer – Fiat 500C
Range: Up to 199 miles
Engine: 118 hp e-motor
Top speed: 93mph
0-62mph: 9.0 seconds
Storage space: 185 liters
Average hours of sunshine per year in the UK: 1,400