The Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda will be the first FCA models to adopt the group’s new hybrid technology. The new 500 Mild Hybrid and Panda Mild Hybrid will be arriving in UK showrooms from February and March 2020 respectively. Fiat says the electrification of the brand will continue with the start of production of the new 500 in its spiritual home of Turin. This model will be 100 per cent electric and will therefore play a key role in the FCA e-Mobility strategy.
Mild hybrid technology
The 500 and Panda will be available with a new petrol mild hybrid engine that combines the latest 3-cylinder FireFly 1.0-litre engine family with a 12-volt BSG electric motor and a lithium battery that delivers 69 bhp (51kW).
Compared to the outgoing 1.2-litre 68 bhp petrol engine, the mild hybrid version improves fuel efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions on the road by up to 30 per cent without impeding performance.Fiat says 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-litre, 3-cylinder engine has a peak power output of 69 bhp (51kW) at 6,000rpm and peak torque of 68 ft lb at 3,500rpm. 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 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 aluminium alloy with cast-iron cylinder liners, to reduce start-up times and contain the weight of the engine to just 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 maximise 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 3,600W, 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 18mph. 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 centre of gravity.
500 Mild Hybrid and Panda Mild Hybrid ‘Launch Edition’
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 and the new and exclusive ‘Dew Green’ exterior/.
The Launch Edition seats are said to be 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 per cent of which originates from the sea and 90 per cent 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. This process is completed by the application of dyes and finishes which minimise the use of water and energy.
The 500 Mild Hybrid and the Panda Mild Hybrid Launch Editions can be ordered from this month at Fiat retailers across Europe. The first customer deliveries will arrive in the first quarter of 2020.