The Latest Product Of Fiat Auto's Commitment To Alternative TractionOne of the major issues facing the car industry today, respect for the environment, is one of particular priority for Fiat Auto. This is proven by its products currently on the market, its research and development projects, the initiatives for sustainable mobility it has implemented in conjunction with the public administration and its investments in the development of new products.
Protecting the environment is a key factor for Fiat Auto in the development of future models. In this context, the presentation of the Panda Hydrogen is merely the latest expression of a process of evolution, which in recent years has placed Fiat in a leading role on an international scale.
In particular, Fuel Cell technology for automotive applications is a subject of great interest among major manufacturers, which through research and the development of demonstration prototypes, are confirming the technology's real potential and environmental advantages. In this dynamic context, Fiat Auto introduces the Panda Hydrogen. As part of a larger research programme, Fiat is using this revolutionary model to explore new technology, evaluate how the car behaves in real-world conditions and assess its environmental advantages.
While Fuel Cell based drivetrains will almost certainly not be available on a large scale until at least the end of the next decade, Fiat Auto has already been actively researching this solution for a number of years, as shown in 2001 by the debut of the 'Elettra H2 Fuel Cell' and, more recently, by the Seicento Hydrogen. Both prototypes were produced by the Fiat Research Centre in conjunction with the Ministry for the Environment. The Panda Hydrogen encapsulates what has been learnt so far, and moves on from an experimental research stage in the laboratory to real-world testing of a vehicle in the field.
The decision to use Fiat's new supermini as the first experimental vehicle for small fleets was made because, as Fuel Cell technology is primarily intended to substantially reduce the environmental impact of the automobile, a car for prevalently urban use, such as the Panda, will give us more relevant answers regarding environmental problems in our cities.
The Panda Hydrogen is the most eloquent example of Fiat Auto's substantial commitment in this particular field of research. However, this does not mean that the company is concentrating any less on the research and development of other technologies that may find useful application in the short to mid-term future. In recent years, alternative solutions have arisen alongside advances in traditional petrol and diesel engine technology. Fiat Auto has been actively involved across the board in all of these developments, including electric and hybrid drive systems and natural gas power, as illustrated by the petrol/methane dual fuel versions (Natural Power) of the Punto, Doblò, Ducato and Multipla. With these products, Fiat Auto is the sole manufacturer in the world to offer a comprehensive range of vehicles with alternative traction or fuel systems, a testimony to the group's concrete efforts in the development of products for sustainable mobility. In addition to these sophisticated, state of the art models, Fiat is also active in the reduction of emissions and consumption, through initiatives of far-reaching social and environmental scope, such as the Methane Project.
A constant, long-term commitment, which is confirmed today with the presentation of the Panda Hydrogen. A commitment that expresses merely one aspect of the ambitious joint effort initiated some years ago with the Ministry for the Environment. Today, in addressing problems related to urban mobility, a relationship of collaboration between the public and private sectors is an increasing necessity. There is, in fact, no single solution to this issue, but rather a mosaic of solutions that must be implemented in harmony with the urban fabric. This is why it is the public sector's responsibility to define guidelines, while it is the automotive industry's task to develop, produce and promote ever more eco-compatible cars, in compliance with each city's plans and choices for mobility.Published 18 October 2004