Fiat - Ecobasic
The Ecobasic is all about the future. Because this concept car illustrates Fiat's vision of the shape of compact cars to come.
As far as engineering and performance are concerned, the car is equipped with a 1.2 Multijet engine and a robotised gearbox that allow it a fuel consumption of less than three litres of diesel per hundred kilometres.
The Ecobasic is naturally much more than this because its cost is low (it would cost the same as a microcar if it went on sale today) and it is also versatile, easy to use, environmentally friendly and an outstanding performer.
All in all, it succeeds in offering features that are difficult to reconcile. To meet these needs, we had to rethink the product and also the way the product is built, distributed and sold.
For example, good fuel economy means building a light, streamlined car. Thus the Ecobasic weighs just 750 kg and its elongated body tapers off toward the rear to suggest a drop of water. On the technical front, this shape ensures a record-breaking Cd for the segment: 0.28.
Yet lightness and good aerodynamics are not enough to achieve the car's exceptional fuel consumption of 3 litres per 100 km and a reduction in emissions that can be assessed at between 30 and 40 percent (in line with EURO 4 standards that will come into force in five years). An ultra-frugal engine was essential. Bolstered by its experience in the diesel engine sector, Fiat research continued to examine the potential of the common rail injection system and came up with a small second-generation four cylinder 1.2 JTD turbodiesel engine. The engine's outstanding thrift comes from a smaller cylinder capacity than that of conventional diesel engines, a multijet injection system and the backing of a robotised gearbox.
The engine control unit and gearbox control unit systems incorporate software that co-ordinates the actions of both to select the gear to be engaged and also the engine service point (rpm and load).
The driver expresses his power requirement through the accelerator and the system meets those requirements in the most fuel-economic way. It is no mere chance that fuel consumption drops by 10 percent over a combined ECE plus EUDC cycle and a staggering 20 percent over an ECE urban cycle.
The driver can also choose a sequential operating mode and in this case gears are shifted directly by means of a joystick. The greatest fuel savings are clearly achieved when the gearbox operates in fully automatic mode. In this case, the driver can choose between two programs: standard and economy. The first is suited to a lively drive, the second promotes low fuel consumption.
Apart from low fuel consumption, another major aim of the Ecobasic was very low manufacturing costs. For this reason, the car is built out of light yet inexpensive materials (thermoplastics, thermosetting plastics, polycarbonates and polypropylene) that nevertheless ensure maximum safety; the load bearing structure is in steel throughout and designed to meet the toughest standards.
To reduce production costs, we came up with the idea of a new, more streamlined factory without a paintshop that processes only one car variant. This one variant is then completed and customised at the end of the manufacturing cycle. We also dreamed up different ways of storing, distributing and even selling the cars.
The thrifty, low-cost Ecobasic is also versatile. Because it is modular, it can be adapted to customers' needs at the time of purchase. Above all, it can be modified - at a later date if required - to keep pace with a motorist's needs or desires. For example, the car can be fitted with four doors, but can also come with just three doors. The plastic panels fitted to the frame may all be of the same colour or all different.
The interior is extremely functional. The facia is a flexible tubular structure that contains a series of light, repositionable storage compartments. The tubular frame front seats can be fitted with an elastified mesh sheath or, alternatively, a rigid shell with a light padding. They may also be enhanced at any time with an armrest, padded side containment panels and more.
The split rear seat squab opens by turning on side joints like window blinds. One side of the rear seat is padded for passenger comfort while the other is a rigid surface. Simply overturn both parts to double the area of the load compartment.
Engine & performance:
Capacity: 1199 cc
Power: 122 hp @ 4000 epm
Torque: 162 Nm
0-100 km/h: 13 s