The Fiat 500 hatchback may not be available as a 2020 model in the United States but here in Europe, the supermini is enjoying an important tech upgrade. Together with the mechanically similar Panda, the 500 is becoming the first mild hybrid small car from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles thanks to a new electrified petrol powertrain.
At the heart of the new 500 Hybrid and Panda Hybrid is the FireFly 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine generating 69 bhp (51 kilowatts). It’s mated to a 12-volt BSG (belt-integrated starter generator) electric motor and a small lithium battery to deliver reduced CO2 emissions of up to 30 percent compared to the outgoing 1.2-litre unit depending on the model.
Gallery: Fiat Panda Hybrid
The new combustion engine has a relatively simple construction and uses two valves per cylinder and a single chain-driven camshaft with continuously variable valve timing. The BSG system is mounted directly to the mill and is operated by the belt that also drives the auxiliaries. The system recovers energy during braking and deceleration, stores it in a small 11-Ah lithium battery, and re-uses it to restart the engine and to assist it during acceleration.
The mild hybrid powertrain works together with a six-speed manual gearbox with “a never seen before” sixth gear ratio that “improves fuel economy in out-of-town driving.” The entire powertrain is located 45 mm lower to the ground compared to the old 1.2-litre Fire engine for improved handling.
Gallery: Fiat 500 Hybrid
Available from February this year in the UK, the 500 Hybrid will be the first step in Fiat’s e-Mobility strategy, which also includes the launch of an all-new, all-electric 500 later this year. The Panda Hybrid will go on sale in the UK in March 2020, and both models will be initially available in a limited Hybrid Launch Edition series with additional standard equipment. Pricing to be announced closer to launch.
- The Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda, always European leaders in their segment, are the first FCA city cars fitted with the new gasoline Mild Hybrid technology.
- The new Fiat 500 and Panda Hybrid are the first step towards the electrification of the Fiat brand.
- The Hybrids are powered by the new 3-cylinder engines from the FireFly family, combined with the 12-volt BSG (Belt-integrated Starter Generator), which will deliver 70 HP.
- For customers, CO2 consumption and emissions are reduced by up to 30% depending on the model, in addition to the tax and traffic benefits of hybrid vehicles in densely populated areas, based on local regulations.
- The 500 and the Panda represent the two souls of the Fiat brand. The first, the more emotional one, is the pop, fashion and design icon. The second, the more functional, trendy one, with 5 doors. Together they are able to satisfy any customer and need and today, for the first time, they are together in a single special series: the Hybrid Launch Edition.
The Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda, undisputed leaders of the city car, will be the first FCA Group models in their category to adopt the new hybrid technology. The new 500 and Panda Hybrid, available from February and March 2020 respectively, will revolutionize urban mobility once again, making the hybrid accessible to all and indeed becoming the new European benchmark for electrified urban mobility.
The new 500 and Panda Hybrid provide all the benefits of efficient, compact, lightweight and accessible hybrid driving. In short, it is the best solution for a citycar and consistent with the Fiat approach. For the last 120 years Fiat has always been a pioneer in technology and an innovator in mobility and now sustainable mobility.
2020 marks the new milestone in the history of the Fiat brand. With the launch of the new hybrid versions of the Fiat 500 and the 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 will play a key role in the e-Mobility by FCA strategy. 2020 will see the group offer a range of products and services to give customers a complete and sustainable mobility experience.
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", with the debut of the new gasoline Mild Hybrid engine that combines the latest 3-cylinder FireFly 1 liter 70 HP (51 kW) engine family with a 12-volt BSG (Belt-integrated Starter Generator) electric motor and a lithium battery. Compared to the 1.2 69 HP Fire, the Mild Hybrid version improves fuel efficiency, thus reducing CO2 emissions on average by 20% and up to 30% for the Panda Cross, without foregoing performance. It also ensures a very high standard of driving comfort thanks to the BSG system, which allows for quiet, vibration-free restarting of the internal combustion engine in Stop&Start mode. 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 city centers, cheaper parking in town centers and tax breaks.
The special series can be recognized by the "Hybrid" sign written on the rear and the exclusive "H" logo, formed by two dew drops, on the center 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 that fits both cars like a bespoke suit, in perfect harmony with the themes of nature and innovation.
On the inside, the seat upholstery is faithful to the sustainable philosophy of the entire project: a perfect match with both the FCA Mild Hybrid technology and the innovative spirit of the iconic Fiat Panda and Fiat 500. 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, certified by SEAQUAL INITIATIVE, 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 environmentally friendly, natural, recycled or recovered fibers. This green process is completed by the application of dyes and environment-friendly finishes based on the saving of water and energy. Fiat is collaborating with SEAQUAL INITIATIVE to support ocean clean-ups to take action against marine litter. The two new Fiat 500 and Panda Hybrid 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.
The Fiat 500 and the Panda are the two complementary Fiat icons, representing urban mobility in Europe, with about 400,000 units sold throughout the year. Now, by introducing the Mild Hybrid technology, the 500 and the Panda will be making a significant contribution towards more sustainable urban driving.
The 500 and the Panda Hybrid Launch Edition can be ordered from now onwards at Fiat dealerships across Europe.
How the FCA Mild Hybrid Technology Works
The new gasoline Mild Hybrid engine, which builds on the heritage of the famous Fire engine, more than 30 million of them were produced, implements a 1-liter, 3-cylinder engine configuration with peak power output of 70 hp (51 kW) at 6,000 rpm and peak torque of 92 Nm 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 EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation), 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 startup times and contain the weight of the engine to just 77 kg. Additionally, friction is reduced using a crank mechanism with a bore/stroke ratio of 1.24 and a connecting rod/crank device with a 10 mm 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 11 Ah, and uses it, at a maximum power of 3,600 W, to restart the engine in Stop&Start mode and to assist it during acceleration.
This technology allows the internal combustion engine to switch off, even at speeds below 30 km/h, simply by shifting into neutral (the dashboard, which displays information on the hybrid system, prompts the driver when to do so). In coasting mode, the lithium battery powers all services, ensuring the driver has full control of the vehicle.
The Mild Hybrid propulsion unit in the latest Panda and 500 Hybrid Launch Edition is combined with a novel 6-gear C514 manual transmission evolution (transverse gearbox, front-wheel drive), with contents aimed at enhancing maneuverability and improving efficiency, including new low-friction bearings and gaskets, the use of a specific high-efficiency lubricant and a never seen before 6th gear ratio that improves fuel economy in out-of-town driving. The comfort-related aspect has also been taken into consideration by optimizing the gearbox system support. Lastly, the new system involves lowering the entire power unit 45 mm so the car behaves better on the road thanks to the lower center of gravity.
The new FireFly family was developed by FCA to offer a range of downsized gasoline engines, featuring good fuel efficiency and benchmark performance in a wide range of applications. The basic structure of the new engines guarantees efficiency, modularity and a considerable degree of standardization in terms of components and manufacturing process, flexibility and potential for future developments.
Fiat 500 and Panda
The new Hybrid Launch Edition once again positions the two Fiat icons as the stars of the show, thanks to continuous technological innovations and a timeless style. At the same time, they also complement each other: in the city car segment according to Fiat, the 500 represents the more "aspirational" side and the Panda the more "functional".
The Fiat 500 is one of the most representative examples of Italian ingenuity, winning over customers for many generations. Launched in 1957 and recreated in 2007, the iconic Fiat 500 got Europe onto the roads in the 1960s, then completely revolutionized the city car category in the first decade of the 21st century, offering an extraordinary never seen before blend of style and technological innovation in this segment. And now, thanks to the 500 Hybrid Launch Edition, it will continue to play a leading role in urban mobility where last year, in its eleventh, it recorded the best number ever, with about 194,000 registered units. One of the ingredients in this success is the special series: over 30 of which have been issued which have allowed the exploration of territories uncharted by a city car. It is now time for the 500 Hybrid Launch Edition to continue the technological journey towards the future of urban mobility in the third millennium.
Equally fascinating is the history of the Fiat Panda. For more than 40 years, the Panda has unmistakably represented the daily relationship with the automobile: more immediate, more carefree. The secrets of its popularity include its compact exterior dimensions, the large interior space that can be configured to any transport need, the wide range of engines and the numerous color combinations. In total, more than 7.5 million customers have been won over by the simplicity and attractiveness of the model, a true compendium of the characteristics of the Fiat brand. In addition, the Panda has always been the torchbearer of innovation for the entire segment. For example, it was the first four-wheel drive city car (1983), the first in its segment to win the prestigious "Car of the Year" (2004), and in the same year, the first city car to reach the Everest Base Camp, located at an altitude of 5,200 meters . The long set of records continued in 2006, when the Fiat Panda was the first large-scale methane-powered city-car put into production. Back in 2013, it was the first in its class to introduce automatic emergency braking. And today comes the Panda Hybrid Launch Edition, ready to revolutionize urban mobility by meeting the new needs of the "Panda people," a global community that looks to the future with an ever-increasing respect for the environment.
About SEAQUAL INITIATIVE
SEAQUAL INITIATIVE is a unique collaborative platform voicing an emotion and a commitment to challenge plastic pollution and help local communities move towards a circular economy. SEAQUAL INITIATIVE creates and manages collaborations between industry, NGOs, fishermen, communities and both local and national authorities in order to build the infrastructure necessary to bring value to marine litter. It also helps to clean our oceans of marine litter by creating a wide range of high-quality sustainable products made with SEAQUAL® YARN, which contains Upcycled Marine Plastic and has material traceability and certification. In choosing products containing Upcycled Marine Plastic, people know they are choosing to help end plastic pollution. By supporting SEAQUAL INITIATIVE, Fiat is a part of an international community dedicated to cleaning our oceans and helping local communities.
FCA Bank's financing solutions for the ne Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda Hybrid
FCA Bank, the captive bank of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Crédit Agricole Consumer Finance, supports the sales of Fiat vehicles by providing a broad range of financing solutions to help Customers to purchase or lease their new Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda Hybrid.
Anybody who wishes to drive a new ones can opt for one of the following products:
- Instalment Loan: Traditional financing that allows the buyer to pay for the vehicle over an extended period of time;
- Leasing and PCP (Personal Contract Purchase): Highly flexible solutions with low monthly payments and the possibility to choose, on the contract expiration date, whether to return, keep or replace the car with a new one;
- Private Lease: A solution for drivers who do not want to own the vehicle, with the ensuing costs and uncertainties, involving a single monthly payment inclusive of the main insurance, assistance and infomobility services for a peace-of-mind experience.
All of FCA Bank's solutions are intended not only for individuals but also for companies and independent professionals. In addition, Leasys, a subsidiary of FCA Bank, makes available long-term car rental solutions for a totally relaxed driving experience.
Moreover, FCA Bank provides a broad range of insurance products in combination with the financing contract, for both personal protection - such as Prestito Protetto, which ensures the repayment of part of the loan in case of sudden and unpredictable occurrences such as a job loss - and car protection.
The financing and insurance solutions described are available in most European countries where the companies of the FCA Bank Group operate. All the structures are extremely flexible, to meet in full local requirements.