Fiat 500 and panda now also as hybrid

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Functional (Fiat Panda, left) or stylish (Fiat 500, right): Fiat wants to cover both with its first hybrid models.

Fiat 500 and Panda now also as hybrid

A little delayed but no less ambitious, Fiat launched its first hybrid models.

Better late than never: Fiat is also launching the 500 and the Panda as mild hybrids.

Dubbed the ‘Hybrid Launch Edition’, the models come with a combination of a new 70hp 1L three-cylinder engine and a belt-driven alternator starter delivering 5hp. Fiat promises a reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of up to 30%. However, it remains to be seen whether these will actually be adhered to: definitive values ​​are not yet available.

Another advantage mentioned is that drivers of the two hybrids can find parking spaces more easily and cheaply in many European cities, since hybrid vehicles are subsidized in many places.

“We’re getting in at exactly the right time,” explains Fiat Europe boss Luca Napolitano. “The market is finally ripe.” That may be true from Fiat‘s point of view, but the technology used in the two small cars is nothing new for a long time. In 2019, more than 40,000 cars with alternative drives were registered in Switzerland, including more than 26,000 hybrid vehicles. So Fiat entered the growing market rather late.

Seats made from recycled plastic

The seats of both vehicles are made in part from “Seaqual Yarn”, a fabric made from recycled plastic that is 10% from the sea and 90% from land. This is also not a world first and is already being used by other manufacturers. But the idea of ​​becoming more sustainable in all respects is definitely commendable.

A first step in the right direction

The price is also pleasing: while other manufacturers usually charge dearly for the comparatively simple mild hybrid technology, the 500 Hybrid, with a base price of CHF 20,790, costs only CHF 500 more than the previous top model “Rockstar”. There are no prices for the Panda yet, but the surcharge will probably not be higher here either.

Both cars are definitely a first step in the right direction. The merger with the French PSA group gives the Italians significantly more technical possibilities to achieve the ambitious goals.

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