Its partnership with the PSA Group now official, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has introduced electrification for the first time on the Panda and the aging 500.
Going on sale in Europe from next month and March in the case the former, the hybrid setup sees the existing 1.0-litre Firefly petrol engine being combined with a 12-volt belt-integrated starter generator and an 11Ah lithium-ion battery pack for a total system output of 51kW/92Nm.
Replacing the previous 50 kW unassisted 1.2-litre motor, the mild-hybrid configuration switches the petrol engine off at speeds below 30 km/h when the brand-new six-speed manual gearbox is shifted to neutral. According to Fiat, the setup translates to a 20% reduction in emissions for the 500 and 30% for the four-wheel-drive Panda Cross.
Aside from the powerunit, the exterior differences are limited to a ‘Hybrid’ badge on the bootlid with the ‘H’ shaped in the style of two dew drops and an exclusive paint finish dubbed Dewdrop Green, while on the inside, the special Launch Edition boasts newly designed seats partially made out of recycled plastic.
No pricing details or indeed South African availability has yet been made.