The 500 has a two-stage electric roof that can be slid back to the top of the rear window, creating the effect of a large sunroof, or pushed right back for the full convertible effect. I prefer to have it fully open, don’t want to freeze in the often inclement British weather, so I’ve added the Winter Pack to get heated seats. To help the car cope on cold, dark mornings, the pack also provides rapid demisting for the windscreen, and I’ve added heated wing mirrors and auto-dimming LED lights by selecting the Eye Park Pack.
Although these niceties cost a few thousand pounds, they keep the car’s overall price below £35,000. That means it still qualifies for the Government’s £2500 electric car grant so I feel as though I’m getting the extras for free.
I need all the plus points I can get because I’m something of an electric car novice, having run only a plug-in hybrid Seat Leon previously. The two things that worried me most were the limitations of the car’s range and problems charging it up.
The electric range concern was swiftly brushed aside on my first stint of motorway driving – a 90-mile round trip to Heathrow Airport. Rather than paying a car park operator’s £15 fee to top up the 500s batteries while I was away, I plugged in the car the night before, hoping it would do the journey to the airport and back on one full charge.