Fiat Working on Advanced Hybrid Drivetrain for Small Cars
Wants to Share this Technology with Chrysler
According to an article in an Italian magazine (via our friends at ABG), Fiat is working on a hybrid drivetrain that could be fitted to its small cars, like the Fiat 500. But even more interesting for us North-Americans, Fiat would apparently be willing to share that hybrid technology with Chrysler, if the deal between them works out.From Autobloggreen:
The system could appear in the tiny 500 and the upcoming Topolino paired up with Fiat's new 900cc two cylinder turbocharged engine. The hybrid transmission integrates the electric motor/generator and the system uses lithium ion batteries. Fiat is apparently also designing the system with the intent of adding plug-in capability.
What Would a Low-Cost High-MPG Hybrid Mean?
If they can keep the price down, this could put even more pressure on automakers to introduce low-cost, high-MPG vehicles. Honda already made some waves with its low-priced Insight (and now says it will invest more in advanced hybrids), which was probably a big factor in Toyota's decision to reduce the price of its new Toyota Prius, but if Chrysler/Fiat came out with a super-efficient small hybrid (with lithium-ion batteries, finally!) around $20k, this could have a big impact.
But of course, we're not there yet. Maybe the Chrysler-Fiat deal won't happen, maybe Fiat will run into technical or cost issues, etc. Still, this is worth keeping an eye on. A lot of people would be interested in a modern, well-designed, low-priced hybrid car that (potentially) got much better MPG than the Prius.
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