Fiat Goes Hybrid, Entry Level
MotorAuthority has it on good, um, authority that Fiat will be offering gas and diesel-electric hybrid drivetrains by 2011. Research on the powerplants is still in the early stages, says Fiat Powertrain Technologies honcho Alfredo Altavilla, and the 2011 timetable could still be delayed if the development team runs into problems. The engines are said to be a 0.9 liter two-cylinder gas-hybrid with a dual-clutch transmission, and a larger 2.3 liter diesel-hybrid four-banger. European emissions standards are clearly the motivating factor here, and the tiny gas burner is expected to weigh in at 90g of CO2 per km driven, well below 2012 European Commission standards. With Fiat jumping on the greentech bandwagon, there's only one other major industry trend that the Italian giant has yet to announce its approach to: the demand boom from the developing world. And just like that, Paul Tan reports that Fiat is planning a new entry-level world car to be released by 2010. There's speculation that it may not be branded as a Fiat (no word on whether the boffins think an entry-level car would hurt the brand, or visa-versa) but the Torino firm could pull out the old Uno or Palio badges too. With its close ties to India's Tata Motors, Fiat could be placed to compete in the nosebleed market. We'll be watching.
I'll be interested to see if the gas hybrid car has adequate power and torque numbers to survive on American roads with American drivers.
Fiat Uno? Hmmmmm, my first car. Cardboard doors, but lots of fun to drive.