The 500 and the Panda are two Fiat icons and are extremely popular across Europe. Hybrid versions which combine a new petrol engine with a rechargeable battery powered electric motor have just been launched and are the company’s first steps towards electrification of the its current range. A purely electric powered 500 will be launched later this year.
The 500 and Panda are available with a new petrol mild hybrid engine that combines the latest three-cylinder FireFly 1.0-litre engine with a 12-volt Belt-integrated Starter Generator (BSG) electric motor and a lithium battery that delivers a combined 70hp.
Compared to the outgoing 1.2-litre 69hp petrol engine, the mild hybrid version improves fuel efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions on the road by up to 30% without impeding performance. The 500 Mild Hybrid has CO2 emissions as low as 88g/km (NEDC2) with the Panda at 89g/km (NEDC2). Fuel economy for the 500 stands at 53.3mpg (WLTP Combined), while the Panda returns 49.6mpg (WLTP Combined).
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 a lithium battery and uses it, at a maximum power of 3,600W, to restart the engine in ‘stop and start’ mode and to assist it during acceleration.
This technology allows the petrol engine to switch off by shifting into neutral at speeds below 18mph. The dashboard, which displays information on the hybrid system, prompts the driver when to shift.
The mild hybrid unit used in the Panda and 500 drives through a six-speed manual transmission aimed at improving fuel economy in out-of-town driving. The new system also involves lowering the engine by 45mm so the car behaves better on the road thanks to the lower centre of gravity.
The special series can be recognised by the ‘Hybrid’ logo on the rear and the exclusive ‘H’ logo, formed by two dew drops, on the centre panel.
The Launch Edition seats are the first in the automotive sector to be made of Seaqual Yarn, derived from recycled plastic, 10% of which originates from the sea and 90% from land. 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. In the weaving phase, marine polyester is mixed with other natural, recycled or recovered fibres.
Hybrid Launch Editions come with exclusive exterior paint colour and interior fabrics and are priced at £16,795 OTR for the 500 and £14,385 OTR for the Panda. π