- Tomorrow is already here: an evolutionary process is underway in the automotive world, with electric mobility at its forefront.
- The market scenario has finally matured, and FCA now faces the challenges of the future with its hybrid and electric models.
- The final episode in the series looks ‘behind the scenes’ of new research and development processes and answers every question on the new technologies.
Now more than ever, the New Year is filled with expectations: there is a strong desire for change, extending to many fields. The automotive world is no exception, and is the field in which an evolutionary process is underway that can probably genuinely turn the page. The constant quest for products with lower CO2 emissions now has hybrid and electric models right at its forefront. It is no coincidence that FCA’s electrification strategy is coming to market in a scenario that has finally matured, ready to anticipate the future now.
FCA What’s Behind responds to motorists ready to experience the future
New technologies and new products are bringing unprecedented opportunities for use, but are also raising new questions: the final episode of FCA What’s Behind season 2 was made precisely to answer all the questions posed by motorists looking to the future. Once again, FCA has opened the doors of its research and development centers and proving grounds around the world: cars are changing, but the meticulous approach to testing, checks, validation and fatigue tests is definitely not. The theme at the heart of this episode is therefore to explain how hybrid and electric cars are made and how FCA has managed to bring out completely new models, or others with brand-new technology, without overlooking the features that have made them such successes over the years or true icons that have become household names all over the world.
The new hybrid models
Hybrid cars use electricity as the energy source for an auxiliary motor to complement the internal combustion engine. There are several types of hybrids: Mild Hybrids, with an electric motor that does not propel the wheels, rather it helps the conventional engine to work more efficiently. Examples include the Fiat Panda, the Fiat 500 and the Lancia Ypsilon, all sharing the name Hybrid: the evolution of models that are already ideal for the urban landscape, now even greener and cheaper. Another incarnation of the hybrid, Plug-in Hybrids, are equipped with a conventional internal combustion engine and batteries that can be charged directly from a power outlet, meaning the car can run dozens of kilometers on the electric motor alone. The Made in Italy Jeep® Compass and Renegade 4xe SUVs are the perfect example of Plug-in Hybrid vehicles. Indeed, 4xe models can be 100% electric, the ideal car for everyday driving in the city, while guaranteeing the brand’s renowned off-road capabilities, with their 4×4 traction.
The New Fiat 500: full-electric from the outset
The electric car deserves a chapter of its own, and a rather major one at that. Its epitome is the New Fiat 500, FCA’s first car that has been full-electric from the outset. The electric motor uses the energy supplied by the battery, converting it to the mechanical energy needed to propel the car. The electrical energy stored in the battery is transferred to the electric motor by an inverter. This device converts the direct current (DC) from the reservoir to alternating current (AC) and transmits it to the motor. When the accelerator is released or when braking, the electric motor acts as a generator and charges the battery. The New Fiat 500 works the same way too, guaranteeing a carefree drive with great performance and a range of hundreds of kilometers.
Performance, safety and reliability: ever-relevant needs
But that’s not all: this episode of FCA What’s Behind considers the many aspects of the new approach to work and engineering, and all the new challenges inherent in the development, lifespan and efficiency of batteries, charging, driving dynamics and safety. All these aspects have been put to the test in extreme conditions and are depicted using as-yet-unseen images.
A complete system
New models alone are not enough: through its e-Mobility division, FCA is therefore designing a range of support services for hybrid and electric cars. It includes the plants where our hybrid and electric cars are built, as well as FCA dealerships across Europe, with their total of 3,600 charge points already or to be installed. Not to mention our agreements with various partners, which can help to relieve concerns customers may have over the transition to electric vehicles. For example, these agreements have resulted in the creation of “My easy Charge”, providing access to the largest public charging network in the world with over 200,000 charge points across Europe; and the easy Wallbox, to recharge the new car they have just driven out of a dealership, with no changes to their home electrical system. Other examples include Shop & Charge, the initiative whereby drivers of a New 500 electric can recharge it while they shop; and the “GOe” apps, which simulate the use of the new electric and hybrid cars in the FCA line-up. A series of agreements have been also been signed to enable the electricity grid to cope with significant new demand for power, for example via the Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) project, the installation at the Mirafiori plant of 150,000 m2 of solar panels, due to produce 15 megawatts of power and to contribute to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by over 8,000 tons.
All the steps taken toward electrification mean FCA can immediately measure up to the new challenges of offering more innovative, effective and advantageous solutions. For the planet, for cities, and for the customers of today and tomorrow.