Fiat recently presented its ultimate concept car to the international motoring press - the Ecobasic -- summarising its production approach towards recyclable, low-cost automobiles. The public, at large, will get an opportunity to see it at the Geneva Motor Show in spring next year, where Fiat will gauge people's reactions to its proposals.
The Ecobasic - 'the pocket FIAT that reinvents the future', according to the company -- is the prototype of the most environment friendly car the Italian marque has ever built. Through an independent test by the German TUeV, Ecobasic has shown to produce only 76 grams of CO2 and 0.025 grams of particulates per kilometre. The car needs less than 3 litres to drive 100 km. The actual consumption registered by the German TUeV are 2.86 and 2.89 litres per 100 km. As it is today, Ecobasic emissions are well "in line with Euro 4 regulations", effective in year 2005, and ruling limits that are half of those set for the Euro 3 period starting January 1st, next year.
Unlike similar cars introduced recently, Fiat's Ecobasic has been designed and
engineered to be light on price as well.
The suggested retail price is very close to the Panda, Fiat's least expensive car.
Asked whether Ecobasic would replace the smaller and lighter Panda, Testore said the
current Panda sold at more than 100,000 units per year and cannot not be dismissed or
In essence, the prototype is "a sort of Smart, twice as roomy at half the price", commented one of those attending the presentation. Here too the buyer can build his or her own version according to one's needs -- add or take the second door on both sides, replace seats or leave them home.
Fiat's Ecobasic ID shows the picture of very charming, colourful and attractive all-round commuter with the look of a romantic cartoon-like car. Like the Fiat Multipla, Ecobasic too was designed under the directions of Roberto Giolito. Its data sheet speaks of a drag coefficient of just 0.28 (a record of sorts for a car its size), and a curb weight limited to 750 kg. Under the bolted hood, the powertrain marries the new 1.2-litre, 16-valve, multijet, turbodiesel Fiat engine (featuring a second generation common rail multiple injection management system) with a new (automatic clutch) manual gearbox.
In terms of performance, the concept car is credited with a top speed of 160 kph (electronically restrained) with a nought to 100 time of just 13 seconds. The four-cylinder unit delivers 45 kW at 3500 rpm and 160 Nm of torque at 1800 rpm. This small new diesel is scheduled for a year 2002 production launch and is said to grant Ecobasic speeds of 120 kph at 2200 rpm
_______More than just a pretty face.
There is a lot more behind the bold Ecobasic "Pilot Project" than just the
product. Fiat Auto is taking this opportunity to present its investigations about the
product and production engineering, a revolutionary assembling plant and the role of
suppliers, plant, marketing techniques and the role of its dealers.
In the research Ecobasic vehicle, thermoplastics have been used for non-load-bearing
parts of the frame (good-looking and easy to replace). Thermosetting plastics have also
been used for lightness and strength, in parts such as the bonnet, roof panel and door
The plant does not require a paintshop because the Ecobasic does not need to be
painted. The assembly line is equipped for the production of just one version, even though
the car can be built in 3, 4 or 5 doors configuration and with many variants, which have
to be done by the dealer according to the final customer specifications.
_______Aesthetic Cataphoresis: A different approach to painting.
The Ecobasic eliminates the need for a spray-on primer and top coat. The plastic panels
are mass-dyed and the frame, which remains in view, is coloured by double-cataphoresis.