Some manufacturers believe that when a car has a small engine, say below 1.2 litres, fuel efficiency is already very good and there is no need for the added cost of a hybrid powertrain, not to mention extra weight. However, if fuel consumption can be improved further by adding an electric motor, why not?
This is how engineers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) see it and part of the reason why they developed FCA’s first city cars with new petrol Mild Hybrid technology. The technology combines the latest 3-cylinder FireFly 1-litre 70 bhp/92 Nm engine family with a 12-volt BSG (Belt-integrated Starter Generator) electric motor and a lithium battery pack.
Compared to the 1.2-litre 69 bhp Fire, the 77-kg Mild Hybrid version improves fuel efficiency, thus reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 30% on average, without sacrificing performance. The BSG system, allows for quiet, vibration-free restarting of the petrol engine in Stop&Start mode.
The BSG system is mounted directly on the engine and is operated by the belt that also drives the auxiliaries. The system recovers energy during braking and deceleration, stores it in the battery pack which has a capacity of 11 Ah. It can then use this energy, at a peak power of 3.6 kW, to restart the engine in Stop&Start mode and to assist it during acceleration.
Customers also benefit from all the advantages of going hybrid (the car is Euro 6D Final-compliant, for instance), which, depending on local regulations, include freedom of access and movement in European city centres, cheaper parking in town centres and tax breaks.
The first models to get the Mild Hybrid technology are the Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda, the two ‘souls’ of the Fiat brand for decades. The first, the more emotional one, is the pop, fashion and design icon. The second, the more functional, trendy one, with 5 doors. Sales will commence from February and March 2020, respectively.
Launch Editions for the first time
Furthermore, for the first time in the history of the two iconic and complementary Fiat brand models, the 500 and the Panda will be available in a special unique series: the exclusive ‘Launch Edition’. The special series can be recognized by the ‘Hybrid’ badge on the rear and the exclusive ‘H’ logo, formed by two dew drops, on the centre panel.
Dew – the symbol of the light of dawn and therefore of the beginning of a new era – has been used as inspiration for the new and exclusive ‘Dewdrop Green’ exterior finish that fits both cars like a bespoke suit, in perfect harmony with the themes of nature and innovation.
Pursuing a sustainable philosophy
On the inside, the seat upholstery is faithful to the sustainable philosophy of the entire project. The Launch Edition seats are the first in the automotive sector to be partly made with SEAQUAL YARN, the weaving of which produces a special material derived from recycled plastic. SEAQUAL YARN is produced by transforming plastics collected from the sea into flakes of polyethylene terephthalate. These flakes are then used in the yarn from which the fabrics are made.
Fiat is collaborating with SEAQUAL INITIATIVE to support ocean clean-ups to act against marine litter. The two Launch Edition models will therefore satisfy the customer who is just as attentive to aesthetics as to environmental issues, in terms of consumption and emissions.
Electrification of the brand
2020 also marks the new milestone in the history of the Fiat brand. With the launch of the new hybrid versions of the 500 and Panda, the electrification of the brand will begin, and will continue with the start of production in Turin of the new 500. This model will be 100% electric and therefore play a key role in the e-Mobility by FCA strategy.