Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has released information about its new mild-hybrid city car lineup for the 2020 model year. The electrification of the brand will begin with the launch of the new mild-hybrid versions of the Fiat 500 and the Panda and will continue with the start of production of the new 500 in its spiritual home of Turin. This model will be 100% electric and will, therefore, play a key role in the FCA e-Mobility strategy.
The 500 and Panda will be available with a new gasoline mild-hybrid engine that combines the latest 3-cylinder FireFly 1.0-liter engine family with a 12-volt Belt Start Generator (BSG) electric motor and a lithium battery that delivers 70 horsepower (51kW).
Compared to the outgoing 1.2-liter 69 horsepower gasoline engine, the mild-hybrid version improves fuel efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions on the road by up to 30% without impeding performance. It also ensures a very high standard of driving comfort thanks to the BSG system, allowing for a quiet, vibration-free restart of the internal combustion engine in Stop & Start mode.
The new 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder engine has a peak power output of 70 horsepower (51kW) at 6,000 RPM and peak torque of 68 ft-lbs. (92Nm) at 3,500 RPM. The cylinder head has two valves per cylinder and a single camshaft with continuous variable valve timing (the timing is chain-driven). The structure includes a compact combustion chamber, high-tumble intake ducts and external Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), providing a remarkably high compression ratio (12:1), which translates into better thermal efficiency. The crankcase, developed in collaboration with Teksid, is made of high-pressure die-cast aluminum alloy with cast-iron cylinder liners, to reduce start-up times and contain the weight of the engine to just 170 lbs. (77kg). Additionally, friction is reduced using a crank mechanism with a bore/stroke ratio of 1.24 and a connecting rod/crank device with a 10mm offset to maximize efficiency.
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 with a capacity of 11Ah, and uses it, at a maximum power of 3,600-watts, to restart the engine in Stop & Start mode and to assist it during acceleration.
This technology allows the internal combustion engine to switch off by shifting into neutral, even at speeds below 18 mph. The dashboard, which displays information on the hybrid system, prompts the driver when to shift.
The mild-hybrid propulsion unit used in the Panda and 500 receives a 6-gear manual transmission (transverse gearbox, front-wheel-drive), aimed at improving fuel economy in out-of-town driving, thanks to new low-friction bearings and gaskets and the use of a specific high-efficiency lubricant. The new system also involves lowering the entire power unit 45mm so the car behaves better on the road thanks to the lower center of gravity.
Upon its launch, Fiat will be releasing a new launch edition of the 500 and Panda mild-hybrid. The special series will be recognized by the ‘Hybrid’ logo on the rear and the exclusive ‘H’ logo, formed by two dew drops, on the center panel. The new and exclusive ‘Dew Green’ exterior that suits both cars is in harmony with the themes of nature and innovation.
The Launch Edition seats are the first in the automotive sector to be made of Seaqual® Yarn, the weaving of which produces a special material, certified by Seaqual, 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 fibers. This process is completed by the application of dyes and finishes which minimize the use of water and energy.
The Fiat 500 and the Panda are two Fiat icons, representing urban mobility in Europe, with around 400,000 units sold throughout the year. Now, by introducing the mild-hybrid technology, the 500 and the Panda are the first steps towards more sustainable urban driving.
The 500 Mild-Hybrid and the Panda Mild-Hybrid Launch Editions can be ordered from January at Fiat retailers across Europe. The new 500 mild-hybrid and Panda mild-hybrid, will make hybrid technology accessible to all and will start arriving at dealers late next month in certain European markets.