Fiat announced Panda and 500 Mild Hybrid

Fiat announced Panda and 500 Mild Hybrid

Thursday 9th January

Fiat announces Panda and 500 Mild Hybrid

FCA finally hops on the hybrid bandwagon with electrified three-cylinder city cars



In what's described as the beginning of the electrification of FCA - better late than never, right? - Fiat has released to the world a pair of hybrid city cars: the 500 and Panda. Yes, they are still being made, and with technology will surely continue for a little while longer.

The Mild Hybrid models - that's the name, not just the technology - will be powered by a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder from the 'Firefly' family of engines, allied to a 12-volt Belt-integrated Starter Generator (BSG). It's mounted directly onto the engine, driven off the auxiliary belt, and is capable of energy recovery during both acceleration and deceleration. That energy is then stored in a 11 Ah lithium battery, which can assist the Panda and 500 during acceleration and also get the engine going again when stop-start is employed.


In addition, the mild hybrid system can also allow the combustion engine to be turned off entirely; Fiat says a prompt will appear on the dash telling drivers when to shift into neutral. All told, CO2 on the Panda and 500 is said to improve by 30 per cent against the old combustion-engined version.

That shifting will be done via a revised (more efficient lubricant, low-friction bearings) six-speed manual gearbox, which will probably see pretty regular use given power and torque peaks of 70hp (at 6,000rpm) and 68lb ft at 3,500. Still, wouldn't be a small Italian car if it didn't need to be driven with some brio, would it? Drivers will be encouraged to do so, in fact - or so it seems - by the fact that this replacement engine for the 1.2 weighs just 77kg and is mounted 45mm lower than before, benefitting the centre of gravity.

Hybridistas don't have long to wait for their small Fiat fix, either, as the 500 is in showrooms next month and the Panda is following in March. Initially a Launch Edition will be offered, boasting Dew Green paint, 'Hybrid' badges and Seaqual Yarn seats, made from recycled plastic. But of course. Prices and full specs to follow soon!






Author
Discussion

rare6499

Original Poster:

367 posts

97 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
Six speed manual in a 500 - finally. I wonder if there’s any chance of it going in to an Abarth, only reason I haven’t got another one is the lack of a sixth get makes motorway work a bit of a pain.

BFleming

2,455 posts

101 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
Is this a first - a manual hybrid?

Moonpie21

344 posts

50 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
The Twinair Panda Anarctica 4x4 is one of my fondest cars of all times, I'd love a reason to get another.

Currently having a 1.5l 48v mild hybrid from another brand and loving it, I can only hope Fiat put their mild hybrid version into a Panda 4x4 and I can work out a reason to have one.

deadtom

1,487 posts

123 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
It's a mild hybrid, and a 12 volt system one at that, so it barely qualifies

TheInternet

3,322 posts

121 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
BFleming said:
Is this a first - a manual hybrid?
Honda CRZ also was.

AmosMoses

3,809 posts

123 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
They really now how to stretch out this platform laugh

bangerhoarder

87 posts

26 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
While this isn't a powerful lump, I found the old 1.2 to be pretty flat and uninspiring, especially after a TwinAir 85, so it was the right one to replace.

gweaver

699 posts

116 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
TheInternet said:
BFleming said:
Is this a first - a manual hybrid?
Honda CRZ also was.
Suzuki Ignis, Swift etc. too. I think they have a 12v system, but a 48v system is due this year.

Harleyboy

381 posts

117 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
Mild hybrids are doing a great job of confusing buyers. Volvo announced a couple of years ago that very soon all their cars would be electrified, what they really meant was that many would be mild hybrids but it was a great headline that made people think Volvo was going fully PHEV/BEV. People then assume at the very least that there will be some ability to drive using an electric motor alone. Mild hybrid's simply use electricity to help the engine at certain points e.g. pulling away which in turn marginally reduces emissions and increases MPG. It will become the new norm for ICE engines and many OEM's are not actually bothering to market them to avoid confusing customers. I understand why Fiat are doing this though because they are so woefully behind with any electrification of their range.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing btw but not terribly newsworthy....


BFleming

2,455 posts

101 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
gweaver said:
TheInternet said:
BFleming said:
Is this a first - a manual hybrid?
Honda CRZ also was.
Suzuki Ignis, Swift etc. too. I think they have a 12v system, but a 48v system is due this year.
Good knowledge chaps driving

sjg

6,478 posts

223 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
BFleming said:
Is this a first - a manual hybrid?
"Enhanced stop start" would be a better term. They can't get moving without the engine running, but can be more aggressive than regular stop-start when coasting or slowing down, and give a small boost from electric when accelerating. Tricky in a manual though as the article says, only really of benefit in an auto.

Manufacturers love them because it's cheap and easy to package and reduces CO2 ratings a bit (every little helps with fleet average CO2 and fines). Consumer confusion is all in their benefit.

Moonpie21

344 posts

50 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
AmosMoses said:
They really now how to stretch out this platform laugh
I'm going to say something divisive here, if it aint broke...

Having owned not only both a Panda and a 500 but a mini and had access to other small hatchbacks/city cars surely these are some of the most versatile and stylish available?

You can go cheap 1.2 or Abarth even diesel, customise in many ways and they are fun to drive. The Panda uses the same platform for 4 doors and has a little more practicality plus you can get a 4x4 which is likely more capable than most would need (just check out youtube).

With a few refreshes here and there the design and technology are still current, why not.

Equus

9,436 posts

59 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
gweaver said:
TheInternet said:
BFleming said:
Is this a first - a manual hybrid?
Honda CRZ also was.
Suzuki Ignis, Swift etc. too....
Not to mention the second hybrid car to make production, the gen 1 Honda Insight.

BFleming

2,455 posts

101 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
The article is full of ambiguities, so I had to read the FCA press release - which isn't a lot clearer. But it does say the 30% saving on CO2 is over the 'outgoing 1.2 69hp model' - but no CO2 figures were quoted. After trawling the Fiat website, I eventually found that the base Panda 1.2 with 69hp has a CO2/km of 111g. The same engine in the 500 puts out 108-116g. CO2/km currently. 30% savings are fairly decent on the face of it - but what are the actual new CO2 figures?

cookie1600

1,411 posts

119 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
Harleyboy said:
Mild hybrids are doing a great job of confusing buyers.
Me too and I'm not yet a buyer.

I wasn't even aware what the term 'mild hybrid' was (OK, my ignorance). I think I'll wait until the the 'Trinidad Moruga Scorpion hybrid' version comes along I guess.....

court

1,472 posts

174 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
rare6499 said:
Six speed manual in a 500 - finally. I wonder if there’s any chance of it going in to an Abarth, only reason I haven’t got another one is the lack of a sixth get makes motorway work a bit of a pain.
IIRC the old 1.4 100hp was a 6 speed as well, it was just too weedy to stick in the Abarth so they used the old Alfa 5-speed.

bakerstreet

4,319 posts

123 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
I'd be interested to see what the real world benefits are in terms of running costs including servicing and road tax. I also predict that these types of engines will be the ones to avoid o the used car market in five years time. Incredible amounts of complexity for what I expect to be very minimal if any saving in running costs.

romac

148 posts

104 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
cookie1600 said:
Harleyboy said:
Mild hybrids are doing a great job of confusing buyers.
Me too and I'm not yet a buyer.

I wasn't even aware what the term 'mild hybrid' was (OK, my ignorance). I think I'll wait until the the 'Trinidad Moruga Scorpion hybrid' version comes along I guess.....
(LOL, that sounds s-e-r-i-o-u-s-l-y hot! furious)

Not only confusing buyers, but also devaluing the use of the word "hybrid". But at least Fiat do say "mild".

BFleming

2,455 posts

101 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
bakerstreet said:
I'd be interested to see what the real world benefits are in terms of running costs including servicing and road tax.
I think the UK road tax argument is virtually irrelevant these days as it only affects the first year's tax. After that it's £145/year for everyone (ignoring the extra tax you pay on a car over £40,000 as it doesn't apply to a 500 or a Panda) - or zero for an electric car (again irrelevant here).

gweaver

699 posts

116 months

Thursday 9th January
quotequote all
bakerstreet said:
I'd be interested to see what the real world benefits are in terms of running costs including servicing and road tax. I also predict that these types of engines will be the ones to avoid o the used car market in five years time. Incredible amounts of complexity for what I expect to be very minimal if any saving in running costs.
Mild hybrid systems aren't that complicated - I guess there are three main components:
  • Integrated starter generator (replacing starter motor and alternator)
  • Battery (small compared to a full hybrid like a Prius)
  • Electronics
I'm willing to believe that the real world efficiency savings could be worth it, depending on driving style. Replacing failed components might hurt the wallet, but you wouldn't have to worry about DPF, DMF and AdBlue systems.