Be careful what you wish for; it might just come true. Fiat is now working on an affordable, electrified version of its Panda vehicle. The carmaker is aiming for a starting price under €25k, though that attractive number will come at the cost of some “essential” features, like an infotainment center.
Fiat’s idea for the Panda EV is a bit strange, to say the least. While other EVs come with a ton of futuristic bells and whistles, the Panda EV will ship with a minimalist, stripped-down design. It’s a lot like the original VW Beetle, which hit an affordable price bracket thanks to a streamlined production process and an outrageously economic design.
But the Fiat Panda EV will also emphasize modularity, much like Fiat’s 2019 Centoventi concept car. While we don’t know exactly what customizable elements Fiat will offer for the Panda EV, the carmaker discussed how it would sell four options for roof covers, paint wraps, wheel wraps, and bumpers when it showed off the Centoventi concept a few years ago. (Customers who don’t want a plain-looking car can buy these parts and swap them in at any time, supposedly.)
And then there’s the car’s interior. Instead of cramming a huge, expensive infotainment center in the Panda EV, it seems that Fiat will go with an adjustable phone or tablet mount. It’s a great idea that I would love to see in other cars, though as I learned from talking with my coworkers, the lack of an infotainment center is a no-go for some drivers. (Of course, Fiat could sell a premium Panda with a proper infotainment center.)
Of course, Fiat isn’t just taking away features to reach its affordable price point. In an interview with Auto Express, Fiat CEO Olivier François explains that the Fiat Panda EV benefits from Stellantis’ platform-sharing production methods, which make it easy for Fiat and its sister companies (Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall, DS) to share parts. (The car’s expected sales volume could also factor into its price—economics of scale, and all that.)
Fiat could reveal the Panda EV as early as this spring. To emphasize the vehicle’s accessible price, Olivier François plans to debut the electrified Panda in its “most naked” form, without any add-ons or fancy features.
Source: Fiat via Auto Express