Fiat's electric Topolino

4 Jun, 2008 3:06am Mark Nichol

Fiat's Smart rival is previewed by an amazing electric concept car

The sun is shining on Fiat! This is the Phylla concept, the Italian maker’s groundbreaking solar-powered green car. And beyond the quirky asymmetrical styling lie clues to the forthcoming Fiat Topolino – which was exclusively revealed by Auto Express in Issue 1,013.

The oddball electric city car showcases the technology that will form the basis of a zero-emissions Topolino, set to hit showrooms in 2010.

Strict EU environment regulations aim to reduce the average amount of CO2 produced by every manufacturer to 120g/km per car, so makers are desperate to have at least one ultra-clean model in their ranges.

The Phylla is Fiat’s answer, showing all the technology that will feature in the electric Topolino.

But not intent on simply reaching EU targets, Fiat is determined to become the world’s greenest car maker, which is why the Phylla is more than simply a pie-in-the-sky design study. The Phylla’s structure is a ‘split-frame’ layout, which allows different bodyshells to sit on the electric platform. That could mean Fiat is paving the way for an electric 500, too!

This layout also liberates the entire cockpit for passenger and luggage space, making the car incredibly practical, despite being more than 20 per cent shorter than a MINI.

A plastic body ensures the Phylla is light enough to be adequately powered by lithium-ion batteries, solar power from the roof panels, as well as energy reclaimed from a regenerative braking system.

This combination is enough to get the model from standstill to 30mph in less than six seconds. That’s hardly tyre-shredding, but more than adequate for the city environment it’s intended to perform in.

Expect the electric Topolino to sit alongside the regular range, priced from around £10,000.

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