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All-electric Fiat Panda is simple, great value for money and can be customised to taste like an adult Meccano kit

I’M a big fan of basic cars because I like value for money more than I do leather seats and gadgets.

Which is why I’ve always liked the Fiat Panda and I really, really like the next all-electric Panda.

The new all-electric Fiat Panda is great value for money and built like an adult Meccano kit — so you can customise your car
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The new all-electric Fiat Panda is great value for money and built like an adult Meccano kit — so you can customise your car

It comes with four seats and a steering wheel and, er, that’s about it. Simple.

Add clip-on accessories like a Bluetooth speaker or Go-Pro camera and take them with you when you arrive at your destination.

It’s like an adult Meccano kit with holes in the dash and door trims to customise as much or as little as you like.

But it gets better. The really clever bit is the battery compartment under the floor.

The dashboard comes equipped with cup holder, camera stick, glove box, speaker and storage bin
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The dashboard comes equipped with cup holder, camera stick, glove box, speaker and storage bin

Only need a range of 62 miles? Then you only need one battery.

Need it to do 124 miles? Two batteries.

You’ll be able to buy or rent up to four extra batteries — including one that slots under the front seats — to extend the range up to 310 miles.
Genius.

According to Fiat, these batteries could be added in less than five minutes.

The charge port in front of the windscreen has a self-retracting cable reel so you don’t muck up the boot or your chinos.

Other equipment such as roof rails, baby seats, pictured, and a pet basket can be added later
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Other equipment such as roof rails, baby seats, pictured, and a pet basket can be added later

Why is no one else doing this?

Plus it will only come in grey paint to keep cost down but you can up-spec it with colour wraps and different body panels.

While other equipment such as roof rails, baby seats and a pet basket can be added or rented later — and you can design your own 3D-printed cup holders.

Of course, the barn doors on this Centoventi concept car are purely for show. They’d never work at Tesco.

The battery compartment is cleverly hidden under the floor
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The battery compartment is cleverly hidden under the floor

But you can expect other cool touches like the + and - pedals (for go, and slow) and the simple P R N D button on the steering wheel to feature on the real Panda, due in 2023.

That’s the beauty of little electric cars. As well as costing pennies to run, you get lots of space in a small box because there’s no transmission tunnel.

Now we come to the price.

Whereas people will happily pay £29k for a trendy Fiat 500 convertible with batteries, Panda has to be for everyone.

So I’d expect it to cost around £12k, maybe even lower if it ends up sharing components with the Citroen AMI after the PSA and FCA merger is completed early next year.

Fiat boss Olivier Francois said: “The idea is to have a full electric vehicle at the price of a combustion-engined car.

“If we can do that, it’s totally true to the Panda’s mission.”

He’s right. He needs to keep it ABC: Affordable but cool.

There's a simple P R N D button on the steering wheel
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There's a simple P R N D button on the steering wheel
The charge port in front of the windscreen has a self-retracting cable
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The charge port in front of the windscreen has a self-retracting cable
Add clip-on accessories like a Bluetooth speaker or Go-Pro camera and take them with you when you arrive at your destination.
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Add clip-on accessories like a Bluetooth speaker or Go-Pro camera and take them with you when you arrive at your destination.

KEY FACTS: FIAT PANDA CITY CROSS HYBRID

Price: £13,855

Engine: 1-litre petrol hybrid

Power: 70hp, 92Nm

0-62mph: 14.7 secs

Top speed: 96mph

Economy: 49mpg

CO2: 89g/km

Out: Now

Classic Inbetweeners scene as the lads go for a road trip in Simon's yellow Fiat car with the red door

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