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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