FIAT Electric cars (the ones from the old days)


It is said that Fiat falls behind in programs of models’ innovation, specially about electric and hybrid vehicles.

It is said that this is one of the reasons, which led the company – for a long time now known as FCA, the name Fiat only refers to the brand – to the fusion with the PSA group.

It’s possible. Fiat has faced tumultuous events since 2000 and the choices taken under the Marchionne management were focused on other areas.

There was a time, however, in which Fiat was at the forefront in the study of sustainable mobility.

It was the first, among the car manufacturers, which launched in 1972 a city car – Fiat X 1/23 – powered by an electric engine.



Fiat X 1/23, designed by Research Centre, was equipped with an engine powered by zinc nickel batteries which allowed a range of about 60 Kilometres.



Not a small detail: batteries were recharged during the breaking phase!
The X1/23 never went into production. It wasn’t the right time like it wasn’t in 1979 when Fiat realized the Fiat “131 hybrid”.

Fiat 131 hybrid
The 131 hybrid used a heat engine derived from that of the Fiat 127 combined with a 24Kw DC motor. The battery pack occupied almost the entire luggage compartment and in this case too there was a recovery of energy in the deceleration phase.
It was presented in Detroit and also this model remained in the prototype state.
Fiat 131 hybrid
The first Fiat electric car, which effectively went into production, was the Panda “Elettra”.

It was presented in 1990 and put on sale at the price of 25.6 million of Lire (circa 14K Euro)- to give you an idea a normal Panda cost less than 10 million (5,1K Euro) and the average price for a Tipo was 15 million (7,8K Euro).

Fiat Panda Elettra

The Panda Elettra was equipped with an electric motor which used a battery recharging device during the braking phase, powered by lead batteries (but nickel-cadmium batteries could be optionally available, which allowed greater autonomy).

Fiat Panda elettra

The batteries pack, quite bulky, occupied the space of the rear seats and the range was just under 100 kilometres.

One of the first European car sharing projects, carried out in Turin, used about twenty Pandas Elettra. It was 1996 and the service anticipated the offers of today’s companies by twenty years.

A roundup of the innovations of the Fiat Research Centre is exhibited at the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile in Turin (Italy); below you see two advanced prototypes the Downtown (green) and the EcoBasic (red).

Fiat Downtown Fiat Ecobasic

Today the automotive world seems to move decisively towards electric and hybrid engines. All manufacturers are adapting and adding one or more electrified or hybrid models to the range.

And what about consumers? There is still a lot of confusion.

The confusion is based on the real costs, without the addition of bonuses and exemptions, but also on the technical solution to choose which, we remind you, can be very different depending on the use.

But this is another story!

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