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Fiat shows future electric Panda at Geneva

Published on: March 5, 2019
Fiat shows future electric Panda at Geneva

What's the news?

Fiat has shown off a concept that will become the next version of the Panda. The Centoventi (Italian for 120 - 2019 is Fiat's 120th birthday) is a compact electric city car that, says Fiat, will allow its owners almost unlimited potential for customisation.

Not in terms of colour, though. As it stands, the Centoventi would only be available in a single colour - a flat, grey-white. The idea being that you can use pop-off plastic panels to liven up the colour palette should you want to.

Inside, there are similar levels of customisation on offer. The base model would have a simple, single digital instrument panel and a dock on the centre console which would allow you to seamlessly integrate your smartphone or tablet into the car's infotainment system. Fiat has even teamed up with Apple to offer a special, curated, music playlist on Apple's streaming Apple Music service.

More expensive versions could be specified with a bigger, fancier 20-inch digital touchscreen, which Fiat has named Lingotto in honour of its famous Turin factory.

The dashboard, which looks like a cheese-grater, isn't just a styling affectation. The multiple holes drilled through the dash in front of the passenger are designed to be a modular storage system - you can clip in a myriad of storage systems from hooks to pockets, to cupholders. Want more versatility? How about a front passenger seat, designed to mimic lightweight sneakers, which can be lifted out and replaced by a modular storage system, or with a purpose-built child safety seat.

The Centoventi is being lined up as Fiat's Panda replacement, and keen eyes will have spotted the little five-bar vent in the nose - a tribute to the original Giugiaro-designed Panda. This version will be all-electric, though. Fiat has teamed up with Samsung to create a modular battery pack. Basic cars will come with a single battery and a one-charge range of around 100km. You can though, even after you've bought the car, add extra battery packs (Fiat says a dealer can fit these in less than five minutes) to expand the range to as much as 500km/h.

Don't want or need the battery packs all the time? Or for that matter the modular storage system or the optional clip-in rooftop box? Fiat claims you'll be able to sell on such items to other Centoventi owners, through a Fiat-moderated e-Bay-like online community sales and swapping service. The ability to sell bits of your car doesn't stop there - aside from the expected car sharing possibilities, Fiat has even included a digital screen integrated with the bootlid, on which you can - potentially - sell advertising space to local businesses.

While we wait to see exactly how much of the Centoventi's wacky ideas will translate through to a production Panda, Fiat was making one other promise. This time next year, at the 2020 Geneva show, we'll get to see the long-awaited all-new Fiat 500. And like the Centoventi, this one's going to be all-electric...

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