NEW FIAT PANDA PREVIEWED

Fiat revealed a new Concept Centoventi electric car at the 2019 Geneva motor show. The model previews a highly customisable reinvention of the Fiat’s Panda. The small car, named in recognition of the Fiat’s 120th anniversary, takes design cues from the Panda and other smaller Fiats that have been produced. The Italian firm says it represents “electromobility as only Fiat can”. The Centoventi is designed to be highly customisable and upgradeable and will be offered in base form with a single battery that gives 100km of range. Buyers can add up to three extra underfloor batteries – along with one under the driver’s seat – to extend the range to up to 500 kilometres. Fiat says it has been engineered so that additional extra batteries will not affect the driving dynamics or vehicle safety.

The interior of the concept displayed at Geneva sports a minimal dashboard and no passenger seat. There are notches on the dashboard on which buyers can fix accessories purchased separately. A range of seat types – from full seats to baby seats and laptop tables – will be offered as well. The car is designed to use a smartphone or a tablet as a digital display screen, although a traditional digital dashboard can be optioned. Fiat says it will offer the car in a single colour only, with company boss Olivier François saying, “You could say the model for this was the Model T. But it’s a Model T in an iPhone case.” The model will also come with a range of coloured roof, bumper and wheel options, along with bodywork wraps, to make the car as customisable as possible.

It will be sold with a removable roof, on which buyers can choose to add a sunroof, soft-top or luggage rack, among other options. Other custom parts will be offered and François said buyers will be able to select them from dealers, mobile fitters or second-hand, or 3D-printed parts, if they have the capability. François called the Centoventi “the embodiment of what Fiat does best: less is more”.

 

Although a concept, the car is likely to preview a future production model, but it is unclear how much of the customisable technology will be carried over. Around 1.7 lakh units of the Panda were sold in Europe last year and registrations this January were up year-on-year. Seeing as FCA has decided to pull the plug on Fiat in our market, giving Jeep its turn, it is unlikely that this model will arrive here any time soon. When confirming the arrival of the 500 EV, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles revealed plans for Fiat to focus on small electric and electrified city cars, at least in international markets.

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