Fiat’s EV strat­egy

Pop­u­lar city car to get ex­panded line-up as other Fi­ats are ditched

Autocar - - THIS WEEK - RICHARD BREM­NER

Elec­tri­fied 500 vari­ants on way

Fiat will launch elec­tric and mild-hy­brid mod­els as part of a re­newed 500 city car range that will in­clude an es­tate. An all-new Panda is also un­der devel­op­ment.

The move is part of a Fiat Chrysler Au­to­mo­biles (FCA) five-year plan in which Fiat will be repo­si­tioned as a ‘green’ city car brand.

The aim is to con­sol­i­date Fiat’s dominance of the city car seg­ment – the 500 and Panda hold a third of this mar­ket – while de­vel­op­ing tech­nolo­gies that al­low these mod­els to sat­isfy emis­sion reg­u­la­tions and meet grow­ing de­mand for zero-emis­sion cars that can be driven into emis­sion-re­stricted city cen­tres.

FCA boss Ser­gio Mar­chionne be­lieves that Fiat “is very well placed to ex­ploit bat­tery elec­tric city car op­por­tu­ni­ties in ju­ris­dic­tions where ac­cess for in­ter­nal-com­bus­tion ve­hi­cles will be in­creas­ingly re­stricted.”

FCA reck­ons it will be able to ex­ploit the pre­mium prices paid for the 500 to en­able it to prof­itably of­fer both elec­tric and mild-hy­brid ver­sions. The 500 typ­i­cally sells for prices 20% above the seg­ment av­er­age, said Mar­chionne.

A mild-hy­brid 500 will ap­pear in 2019 and the elec­tric ver­sion in 2020. These mod­els will be based on a com­pletely re­designed 500 that will in­clude the es­tate.

The 500 Giar­diniera, which ref­er­ences the 1960 500 wagon, will of­fer the best space ef­fi­ciency in its class, said Fiat, and “un­mis­tak­able de­sign”. It will also have mild-hy­brid and elec­tric vari­ants.

The 500’s new plat­form ar­chi­tec­ture will spawn a new Panda, which will also be avail­able with a mild-hy­brid driv­e­train. This will fea­ture a belt-driven 12V starter/ gen­er­a­tor. Lit­tle de­tail has been given about the 500’s elec­tric driv­e­train.

Lower-emis­sion petrol engines will also be of­fered in the 500 and Panda. Fiat is to phase out all diesel pas­sen­ger cars by 2021. The Punto su­per­mini will also be pen­sioned off. It will not be re­placed and is not profitable enough to carry the cost of elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, said Mar­chionne. How­ever, the 500L and 500X will con­tinue and hy­brid ver­sions of both are planned.

The pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity freed up by the dele­tion of the Punto and other un­spec­i­fied Fiat mod­els – likely to in­clude the Tipo – will be used to build more Alfa Romeos and Maser­atis. Some Ital­ian ca­pac­ity will also be used to make plug-in hy­brid mod­els, in­clud­ing Jeeps for global sale.

Fiat 500 line-up will get mild-hy­brid and all-elec­tric mod­els

Fiat 500 Giar­diniera will be re­born as a new space-ef­fi­cient es­tate

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