A ground-up reimagination of the Panda, and the surprise of Geneva 2019
The Centoventi, named for Fiat’s 120th anniversary, is a reimagination of the famous Panda – the original of which you can’t spend more than ten minutes on an Italian street without seeing at least once – and offers remarkable levels of modularity inside and out.
The EV’s floor-mounted battery can offer anything from 100km to 500km (62 to 310 miles), because while as standard the car has one module for a 100km range, three more can be added into the floor, and another under the rear seat, to get you all the way to 500km.
The design is also open to customisation. While the shape and styling overall are quite simple (and peppered with little references to the original Panda), the silver metalwork is overshadowed by large expanses of white, horizontally-ribbed polymer that make up the bumpers and wheel arches, in once piece at each end.
If this car were to go on sale, customers could order different-coloured bumpers online and have them fitted at dealers (similarly to what Smart has done). It doesn’t stop there, either. The cover for the roof, the wheel trims and a vinyl wrap to put over the silver-only sheetmetal would all be offered in four different options.
The roof options are especially varied, with Fiat suggesting “two-colour polycarbonate top, canvas soft top, integrated cargo box and even a roof integrating an innovative 50W solar panel.”
At the rear, a screen sits between the rear lights, which Fiat points out can be used for both branding and socialising (they even suggest renting out advertising space with it to pay for parking).
The interior takes all this modularity even further. The door pockets can be reconfigured, the seats can be pulled out and replaced with a child seat or luggage holder (alternatively, hand luggage can be slid into a box under the front seats). Then there’s the dashboard…
Car Design News does not speak enough Italian or possess enough video cameras to have taken a seat inside the Centoventi, but handily Fiat had a replica of its shelf-like dashboard on display, with the steering column and its integrated lozenge-shaped digital IP omitted.
The concept here is that the holes in the dash can have all sorts of different accessories slotted into them. Here we see straps for holding magazines, sound-bar speakers and 3D-printed bottle holders, among other things. To the right of the cuddly panda appears to be a pull-out drawer (non-functioning on this model, if so).
As for the driver, they get a simplified interface, with the transmission controls mounted on the steering wheel hub. While the digital IP on the show car had a “Lingotto cluster” 20-inch two-in-one screen setup, another option would be offered where owners could simply slot their phone or tablet into the infotainment space instead (see gallery).
The Centoventi also features a fair amount of experimentation with materials, which makes a nice change from leather this and soft-plastic that.
The real question in everyone’s minds, though, is whether Fiat could actually produce something similar to this, with all its 120 Mopar-designed accessories (only six of which – the exterior panels and instrument module – can’t be fitted yourself at home). Is the just a bit of fun to let the designers play around for the 120th anniversary, or is this a serious push to reinvent one of the most famous city cars ever made? Time will tell…
We’ll leave you with a little video from Fiat:
- Length: 3680 mm
- Height: 1527 mm
- Width: 1740 mm (with door mirrors 1846 mm)
- Wheelbase: 2430 mm
- Front overhang: 658 mm
- Rear overhang: 592 mm