Fiat 500 Hybrid


24 February 2020

IN an age when car companies are vying to be as green as possible Fiat have certainly scored with their new 500 hybrid.

As if this iconic little car were not desirable enough in everyday form – it has sold more than 3 million to date – it now has rather good green credentials.

The hybrid powertrain has reduced emissions to 88g/km of CO2 but even more interesting than that are the seats. They are made 90 per cent from landfill plastics and ten percent marine waste.

This new upcycled fibre is called Seaqual and Fiat are one of the first car manufacturers to use it. Other companies onside include Ikea and Jack Wolfskin.

Seaqual is produced by transforming plastics from the sea into flakes of polyethylene terephthalate which are used in yarn from which the seats are made.

In the weaving phase it is mixed with other natural and recycled fibres.

Fiat use 1.5kg of recycled plastic sea waste for each seat – that’s 61.5 plastic bottles. For 100,000 cars they will use six million bottles.

“That’s cleaning up an area of sea waste the size of Wales,” said Fiat production manager Stefano Cesini.

Phew! Keep going. Another 300,000 and  they’ll reach the size of Scotland.

The Fiat 500 has been with us since 1957 but  was relaunched in the form we know it today in 2007. It has always been the darling of the stylish and chic young Italians and you can now add green to that description.

The launch colour for the new and first ever hybrid version is verde rugiada – green dew – a sophisticated and elegant shade of green.

It is reflected inside on  the dash – indeed the interior fulfils the design promise we have come to expect in the eternally popular 500.

The difference in this car is the hybrid engine.

It mates a 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery.

The electric motor will work with the conventional engine to start up and pull away and when it needs acceleration.

Interestingly though, energy can be regenerated as you drive by decelerating – taking your foot off the accelerator when going downhill for example - even more forcefully by braking, and in some cases, like pulling up towards traffic lights,  you can ease into neutral and coast to recoup power.

We tried the new hybrid out in Bologna – the gastronomic capital of Italy – and it was not found wanting.

“This car was made for this kind of driving,” said  my co-driver as we stopped and started, swung around Bologna’s narrow streets and eased out into the wide boulevards.

The 500 hybrid was a dream to drive and with a lower centre of gravity, even more well balanced om the road.

I particularly liked the black roll back soft top roof in this trim level.

Expect an electric version along shortly and for those who prefer something a little more rugged, this hybrid engine is also available in the Fiat Panda.

There are five other trim levels for the 500 hybrid as well as this Launch Edition which tops the range.  Indeed it starts at an amazing £12,665 for the entry level Pop.

For those looking for style in their green philosophy, this could well be the answer. And in the Launch Edition it is even green in colour.

FAST FACTS

Model: Fiat 500 mild hybrid Launch Edition

Engine: 1.0-litre three cylinder paired to an electric motor.

Power: 70PS

Top speed: 104mph

0-62: 13.8 seconds

Average mpg: 53.3

CO2: 88g/km

Warranty:

Price: £16,795