Electrified 500 and Panda revealed as Fiat's first mild hybrids

feedback@motor1.com (Anthony Karr)
Fiat Panda Hybrid

Going on sale across Europe in February and March.

The Fiat 500 hatchback may not be available as a 2020 model in the United States but here in Europe, the supermini is enjoying an important tech upgrade. Together with the mechanically similar Panda, the 500 is becoming the first mild hybrid small car from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles thanks to a new electrified petrol powertrain. 

At the heart of the new 500 Hybrid and Panda Hybrid is the FireFly 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine generating 69 bhp (51 kilowatts). It’s mated to a 12-volt BSG (belt-integrated starter generator) electric motor and a small lithium battery to deliver reduced CO2 emissions of up to 30 percent compared to the outgoing 1.2-litre unit depending on the model.

The new combustion engine has a relatively simple construction and uses two valves per cylinder and a single chain-driven camshaft with continuously variable valve timing. The BSG system is mounted directly to the mill and is operated by the belt that also drives the auxiliaries. The system recovers energy during braking and deceleration, stores it in a small 11-Ah lithium battery, and re-uses it to restart the engine and to assist it during acceleration.

The mild hybrid powertrain works together with a six-speed manual gearbox with “a never seen before” sixth gear ratio that “improves fuel economy in out-of-town driving.” The entire powertrain is located 45 mm lower to the ground compared to the old 1.2-litre Fire engine for improved handling.

Available from February this year in the UK, the 500 Hybrid will be the first step in Fiat’s e-Mobility strategy, which also includes the launch of an all-new, all-electric 500 later this year. The Panda Hybrid will go on sale in the UK in March 2020, and both models will be initially available in a limited Hybrid Launch Edition series with additional standard equipment. Pricing to be announced closer to launch.

Latest 500 and Panda news: