The Fiat 500 and the Fiat Panda will become the first city cars from FIAT Chrysler Automobiles to be gifted with mild-hybrid technology. The models will be called the 500 Mild Hybrid and the Panda Mild Hybrid and they will be entering UK showrooms in February and March 2020 respectively. Both of these cars are optimised for inner-city driving and with the introduction of the mild-hybrid system, their jobs can be done more sustainably and more economically than ever before.
Both models will be launched using the latest ‘Firefly’ 1.0 litre 3-cylinder petrol engines mated to a 12-Volt electric motor and a lithium battery which delivers 70bhp. These units will replace the outgoing 1.2-litre, 69 horsepower non-hybrid engines which are currently on sale. The mild-hybrid systems will have the potential of reducing the carbon emissions by up to 30% when compared to the previous engine without impeding performance. You can expect a combined fuel consumption of 53 mpg in the 500, and 49 mpg in the Panda.
The mild-hybrid system comes into effect when starting (or restarting) the car and its done ever so subtly, to allow a quiet ignition without and unwanted vibrations when in ‘Stop&Start’ mode. This is called the BSG system, which stands for ‘Belt-integrated Starter Generator’. The BSG is mounted directly onto the engine and generates energy under braking and when the car is decelerating. This energy is then stored in a lithium-ion battery and reused to get the car moving again when stopped or to assist with acceleration. It’s all very complicated but also very clever and, fundamentally, it doesn’t require the driver to behave any different to how they would have previously.
Both the 500 Mild Hybrid and the Panda Mild Hybrid will first enter the market as ‘launch edition’ models. These models will be special editions and boast the ‘Hybrid’ logo on the rear and an ‘H’ logo on the centre panels. These models will be made available with Dew Green paintwork, which is rather fitting.
One particularly interesting feature of the launch edition models will be the seats. The upholstery of these models will be made from Seaqual Yarn. Seaqual Yarn uses recycled and repurposed fabrics, 10% of which is sourced from the ocean, to create a soft and supportive fabric. The fabric is then coloured using dyes and finishes to minimise the use of water and energy throughout the production process. They’ve really thought of everything.
The 500 Mild Hybrid and the Panda Mild Hybrid are available as Launch Edition models with dealerships taking orders as of February 2020 and the first customer deliveries are expected to take place very soon. The Fiat 500 Mild Hybrid starts from £12,665 on-the-road, and the Fiat Panda Mild Hybrid starts from £13,855 OTR. Hybrid Launch Editions provide exclusive exterior paint colour and interior fabrics, priced at £16,795 OTR for the 500 and £14,385 OTR for Panda. That’s quite a quick turnaround for a car and we’re certain that there will be plenty of orders flying in, so if you’re interested then it is certainly worth taking a test drive sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.