Fiat has announced that its line-up is going to be entirely electric by 2030. It's perhaps not the biggest surprise of all time, with most European car markets planning a ban on internal combustion sales in that timeframe, but it's good to know, nonetheless.
500e already on sale
Of course, Fiat has already gone partially electric, with the launch of the 500e, and the mild-hybrid engines for the regular 500 and the Panda. Speaking at Milan's Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest), Fiat brand CEO, Olivier François, said: "The decision to launch the New 500 - electric and electric alone - was actually taken before Covid-19. Even then, we were already aware that the world could not take any more 'compromises.' In fact, lockdown was only the latest of the warnings we have received. At that time, we witnessed situations that would have been unimaginable until then, for example wild animals roaming the cities, proving nature was taking back what was rightfully hers. Plus, as if it had still been necessary, we were reminded of the urgency of taking action, of doing something for the planet Earth."
Lingotto track to become a hanging garden
"We have an icon, the 500" explained François. "An icon always has its cause and the 500 is no exception: in the 1950s, it opened access to mobility for all. Nowadays, in this new scenario, it has a new mission - our mission - to create sustainable mobility for all. It is our duty to bring to market electric cars that cost no more than those with an internal combustion engine, as soon as we can, in line with the falling costs of batteries. We are exploring the territory of sustainable mobility for all: this is our greatest project. Between 2025 and 2030, our product line-up will gradually become electric-only. This will be a radical change for Fiat. Meanwhile, in the near future, only a few months from now, I am proud that we will see the conversion of the legendary track on the roof of the former Lingotto factory in Turin into the largest hanging gardens in Europe, hosting over 28,000 plants. A major, meaningful - and once again sustainable - project, due to revitalise the city of Turin, our home."
As part of the plans, Fiat - now part of the sprawling Stellantis group that also includes Peugeot, Opel, Jeep, Alfa Romeo and Citroen - says that it needs to help buyers overcome 'barriers' to electric adoption. The biggest of those is price, especially for a brand that chiefly sells small, affordable cars. François also spoke of the need to "Increase the number of private charge points at apartment buildings, requiring a rethink of the infrastructure of the apartment buildings of the future, but, most of all, by adapting existing buildings; the need to raise visibility of charge points in cities and increase the penetration of fast charging stations."
More trees for cities
François made his comments as part of an on-stage interview with Stefano Boeri, an architect, urban planner and the founder of Stefano Boeri Architetti. Boeri said: "When we consider that cities are responsible for more than 70 per cent of CO2 emissions, which are at the root of global warming and the emissions of pollutants that endanger our health, it is clear that cities are where we most need to change. And the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how fragile our lives and bodies can be. And so, it showed us the importance of improving the environment in which we live. Trees absorb CO2, drastically reduce pollution, reduce energy consumption and the 'urban heat island' effect. Trees are increasing the biodiversity of living species and making cities safer, more pleasant, healthier and attractive. Plants and trees are the only way we have to absorb pollutants that have already been emitted. We already have a variety of solutions at our disposal to help in this process: protecting and increasing permeable and green surfaces in the city; creating new parks and gardens; transforming city roofs into lawns and vegetable gardens; transforming perimeter walls and urban barriers into green façades; promoting community gardens and implementing urban agriculture; using tree roots to decontaminate polluted soil; creating a network of green corridors to connect parks, forests and green buildings; exponentially increasing the number of green buildings and vertical forests; creating new green belt forests and woodlands all around our cities."
June 5, 2021 is World Environment Day. Go to worldenvironmentday.global for more details.