The Panda MultiEco show-car makes its world debut in Geneva; Fiat sees this unit as the future of cars with a low environmental impact: the concept car represents the most advanced frontier achievable in terms of emissions and consumption, synergically combining technologies that already exist or are ready for industrialisation.
The show-car combines an innovative ‘powertrain' architecture – an engine with dual petrol/methane fuel supply, MTA transmission and BAS device – with the use of eco-compatible materials (recycled, recyclable or of natural origin) for the exterior and interior.
The result is made even more interesting by the painstaking optimisation of the aerodynamics and a significant weight reduction.
In detail: the Panda MultiEco is equipped with a dual-fuel (methane and petrol) FIRE engine – future developments will also make it possible to use a methane/hydrogen mix – combined with a BAS (Belt-driven Alternator-Starter) device and a Dualogic robotised gearbox.
The first device, which is at once an electric generator and starter motor, makes for easier starting and more efficient electricity generation. The innovative MTA (Manual Transmission Automated) gearbox on the other hand makes for optimal management of gear changes and outstanding mechanical efficiency.
The automated transmission paves the way for ‘intelligent' management of the on/off state of the engine. By controlling the clutch, the system disengages the internal combustion engine from the transmission whenever drive is not required and the engine can be turned off. It is restarted, immediately and silently, by a reversible electric motor, known as BAS (Belt-driven Alternator-Starter) which replaces the alternator on the belt circuit and performs the dual role of starter motor and electric generator.
What is more, in addition to its exclusive built-in propulsion system, the Panda MultiEco incorporates interesting improvements in the fields of aerodynamics (Cd of 0.295) and weight reduction. Suffice it to say that the show-car weighs 92 kg less than the methane version that will soon go into production, thanks to the use of a number of components (engine bonnet and tailgate) made with thermoplastic materials, the adoption of ‘stripped' seats which are pre-assembled in pairs on carriers, and of cylinders to store the methane made of high-yield steel and carbon fibre.
The Panda MultiEco is fitted with Pirelli tyres that are state of the art; they have an innovative pattern and constant-wear tread, and a mix that has low hysteresis but guarantees the same elasticity and grip on both wet and dry surfaces.
The innovative lay-out of the methane cylinder storage system is unique for a city car, thanks to the Panda's modular floorpan (the CNG cylinders are positioned under the floorpan, one longitudinally in the central tunnel, and the other, with a capacity of 50 litres, transversally under the rear floor), guaranteeing a methane range of over 350 km without detracting from the roominess of the car or the luggage compartment in any way.
The combination of these solutions, which were developed within the Fiat Group (Fiat Auto, Fiat Powertrain Technologies and Centro Ricerche Fiat), together with the use of proprietary control strategies, means that the new show-car guarantees a drastic reduction in emissions.
CO2 emissions in particular are 42% lower than those of the petrol version in the urban cycle and 32% lower in the NEDC cycle, reaching a value of 90 g/km in this case. In terms of emissions, this result is added to the benefits of methane propulsion, which is the only solution realistically possible today that could help to significantly raise the quality of exhaust emissions, particularly those of substances responsible for photochemical smog, with a considerable impact on human health. The other advantages for customers are lower consumption and the lower cost of methane, which therefore means a substantial reduction in the relative cost per kilometre (-63%).
Source - FIAT AUTO S.p.A.
To sum up, the Panda MultiEco is further proof of Fiat's commitment to the protection of the environment, not only to meet even more stringent European limits in future but also to achieve a significant reduction in consumption without penalising the performance or functionality of the car. In the short-term, this commitment will take the form of the launch of the Panda Natural Power, the new methane and petrol dual-fuel version, later in the year.