Fiat decides to include mild hybrid version for new 600 as well

While there is still a push towards going fully electric with motor vehicles – at least in Europe – there is also the realisation that electrification does not proceed at the same pace for every country. Switching to only battery electric vehicles (BEVs) can lose a lot of sales for a brand if it is done too soon.

That is why the major carmakers continue development of combustion engines – but paired with electric motors in a hybrid powertrain. Though not 100% zero emissions, at least carbon dioxide emissions (which are blamed for climate change) can still be reduced a bit. More importantly, hybrid powertrains are less costly than BEV powertrains, allowing a larger segment of markets to buy them.

2023 Fiat 600 EV
Images shown are of 600e which would look similar to the 600 Hybrid.

Fiat launched its new 600e hatchback in July and at that time it was thought that the model will be only available as a BEV. However, the carmaker has now announced that it will offer a version with hybrid powertrain next year.

2023 Fiat 600 EV

“Our strategic vision remains full electric and all-electric 500 being the bestselling BEV city car in Europe fuels our determination to pursue and make electric truly accessible to all. However, we also shall stay relevant in those countries such as Italy, our domestic market, where full electric hasn’t yet really taken off,” said Olivier Francois, Fiat CEO and Stellantis Global CMO.

“Therefore, for these selected countries, together with the new 600e, we will offer a high-spec hybrid that will hopefully open the door to a more electrified world,” he said.

Besides Italy, where adoption of BEVs is slow, there has also been a slowdown in the UK as the government stopped subsidising the purchase of electric vehicles. The subsidy, which was up to £1,500 (RM8,660), ended in June 2022 as the government said that it wanted to utilise the funds for developing the EV charging network. Some half a million EVs had been purchased with the subsidies.

“The move to electrification has stalled, particularly for retail buyers, since the removal of the government grant last year,” said Damien Dally, Managing Director of Fiat UK. “That is why Fiat  reacted in June this year and introduced the FIAT e-Grant on the award-winning all-electric 500, a £3,000 (RM17,320) incentive to help drivers make the switch the electric, making it more accessible than before.’’

“It’s extremely exciting that we’re adding a high-spec hybrid that will open the door to a more electric world for many people who can’t quite shift to electric yet. But it’s key to underline that we’ll never do a 600 with a traditional combustion engine set-up – it will only ever be full electric or hybrid,” he added.

The hybrid technology
The forthcoming 600 Hybrid will use the Mild Hybrid (MHEV) approach with a 100 ps 3-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol engine and a 21 kW e-motor powered by lithium-ion battery pack with 48V architecture. Integration of the systems, including the belt starter and new 6-speed electric dual-clutch transmission, provide the best optimisation in terms of compaction.

The ‘extra’ electric power improves flexibility at low engine speeds and especially during take-off. This provides a quiet start with stronger response and smooth transitions. Under 30 km/h, use of electric power will be prioritised and can be used exclusively for short distances.

2023 Fiat 600e EV

Electric-only power supply can also be used for the e-creeping function, which is used to make a series of short movements forward with no pressure on the accelerator (for example, in a traffic jam).

Moreover, this technology allows energy recovering as the car slows down. In normal driving conditions, the engine is designed to optimise fuel consumption and reduce up to 15% of CO2 emissions compared to a pure combustion engine with an automatic transmission.

2023 Fiat 600 EV

No more grey cars from Fiat (w/VIDEO)

Latest Stories