The city cars become the first electrified models in the Fiat line-up, ahead of the new electric 500e arriving later this year.
The pair, due to arrive in February and March respectively, use a mild hybrid powertrain that Fiat claims reduces CO2 emissions by up to 30%. The 500 Mild Hybrid emits 88g/km of CO2 and the Panda Mild Hybrid emits 89g/km of CO2.
Replacing the 1.2-litre petrol engine, the new powertrain comprises a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, a 12V belt-driven electric motor and a lithium ion battery. It produces 69bhp and 69lb ft of torque.
The belt-integrated starter motor system is mounted on the engine and recovers energy during braking and deceleration, which is then used to restart the engine in stop/start mode and to assist acceleration. It also allows the engine to switch off by shifting the gearbox into neutral at speeds below 18mph.
The models use a six-speed manual gearbox that's “aimed at improving fuel economy in out-of-town driving” and lowers the power unit by 45mm. Fiat says this allows the cars to “behave better on the road, thanks to the lower centre of gravity”.
The arrival of the 500 and Panda mild hybrids will begin with Launch Edition models. These feature an ‘H’ logo, green paint and Seaqual recycled plastic upholstery, of which 90% originates from land and 10% from the sea. The 500 Launch Edition costs £16,795, while the Panda equivalent costs £14,385.
Fiat has been slow to adopt electrification but plans to bounce back this year with the 500e. The plan is to continue selling the existing 500 – which was launched 13 years ago – alongside it.
The Italian brand also hopes that its imminent merger with the PSA Group will further accelerate its electrification plans.