Stellantis is working on a successor for the Fiat Panda, which is currently available in Europe and has been running since 2011 with cosmetic changes.
The Panda belongs to the A-segment, one that is fighting for survival in Europe. Due to what manufacturers consider over-regulation in the emission and safety aspects is driving up prices significantly. For the next-gen Panda, full electrification looks inevitable, either as standard or as an option. It can compete strongly with the raft of upcoming entry-level electric vehicles if Stellantis transforms the Panda from a hatchback to an electric crossover.
Electrification of the Fiat Panda could not arrive sooner, as global sales of Fiat (excluding Abarth) in 2019 were at their lowest since 1985. In 2020, though, the city car reported the best Y-o-Y growth in its segment of 3.4%. In Italy, the Panda enjoyed a market share of 47.8%, and in Europe, that count was 17.8%.
New Panda could be Stellantis’ entry-level electric crossover
Fiat has indicated its intentions to release an electric crossover. Speaking to Auto Express last year, Olivier Francois, CEO, Fiat, indicated that it is the company’s vision to have a zero-emission Panda crossover. “I think we have a bright future in the full electric approach to city cars, through the 500e and through the more non-traditional approach with this minimalist, lower price Centoventi that is very Panda-inspired,” Francois said.
According to a report from Automotive News Europe, a new small Fiat crossover (codename: Fiat 364) is scheduled to enter production at the Fiat Tychy plant in April 2023. A pure electric variant of this model (featuring a BYD battery) will follow in May 2023, and nearly a year later, in February 2024, a mild-hybrid variant, it said. If the Italian carmaker wants an affordable Panda electric on the market quickly, the e-CMP will give it the access and the cost advantage to reach the desired positioning, regardless of where it is manufactured.
Fiat Panda set to gain visual updates in 2022 – Report
Passione Auto Italiane’s Matteo Volpe, citing a company source, has said in a YouTube vlog that the current Fiat Panda will get a round of changes next year. A new variant Volpe talked about could be launched simply as a Fiat Panda Sport, the way 500X Sport was branded in 2019. The Sport variant may feature exclusive alloy wheels, modified suspension setup, lower ground clearance, exclusive steering system calibration, exclusive wheels wrapped in high-performance tires, and more such changes from the regular crossover. If changes aren’t extensive, at best, expect new exterior and interior enrichments.
Fiat introduced the mild-hybrid system on the Panda last July, reducing CO2 emissions by up to 20 percent, without a performance drop. The Panda would carry this system forward into the refreshed model line.
Right now, Fiat is offering the Panda mild-hybrid at EUR 9,500 onwards with new incentives and a bonus EUR 300 voucher for travel and tour operator Alpitour. The summer-special offer is valid in Italy, the Republic of San Marino, and the Vatican City.
On the Fiat Centoventi concept
The Centoventi concept is codenamed CC4 (City Car-4, where the 4 represents the fourth generation of the Panda). At the time of showing the concept, Fiat said it was pushing to make the electric Panda, as it would have to pay heavy regulatory fines for missing upcoming CO2 targets otherwise.
On the Centoventi concept, the extra batteries were installed under the floor of the car (this would be done by the service network on the production car, Fiat said) making installation and removal rather easy. An additional battery under the seat was also seen on the Fiat electric car, which the company said could be disconnected and charged directly at the user’s home. A modular battery system would call for a bespoke platform, which we don’t see as part of the new strategy at Stellantis.
Electrification targets at Stellantis
By 2025, Stellantis, the parent company of Fiat, wants to have 98% of its models to be available with either a plug-in hybrid electric powertrain and/or a pure electric powertrain. Stellantis is releasing a second-gen eCMP platform at the end of 2022, which could underpin the all-electric Panda hatchback/crossover. In 2026, this platform will be swapped with a new platform called STLA Small, a version of the new STLA platform family, developed for A-segment, B-segment, and (low-cost) C-segment models.
Between 2025 and 2030, Fiat as a brand aims to go fully electric, Fiat CEO and Stellantis CMO Olivier Francois confirmed on World Environment Day this year. Francois said that it is the Italian automaker’s “duty” to launch electric cars that cost the same as or lower than internal combustion engine vehicles as soon as it can, in line with the reducing costs of their batteries.
Next generation Fiat Panda FAQs
What is the Fiat Panda electric release date?
The next-gen Fiat Panda is now expected in 2023.
Which cars would the 2023 Fiat Panda electric rival?
What will be the price of the 2023 Fiat Panda electric?
The 2023 Fiat Panda electric is expected to cost EUR 20,000-25,000.
Featured image: Fiat