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LPG
26.11.2012
Italy
Sector: LPG

Fiat Panda EasyPower - take it easy!

Launching the new Fiat Panda as a car factory-converted to run on LPG was really just a matter of time. The time is up, so here it is – the autogas-powered Panda EasyPower is now available in Italy, its home market. Many will prefer it as it prefers LPG to petrol.
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Fiat Panda EasyPower© FiatYou might not see it sips LPG instead of petrol, but you will notice it when it comes to paying for fuel

Thrifty drivers are abundant, especially among those who choose small cars, like the Panda. For that exact reason, Fiat wasted no time and quickly prepared an offer for those who get goosebumps from even thinking of paying too much for fuel, not to mention actually doing so. Fuel economy figures provided by the Italian carmaker should definitely satisfy everyone who hates spending more than necessary, as the Panda EasyPower is said to consume as little as 6,6 l of autogas per 100 km, which means it emits 107 g of CO2 per kilometre. So, not only is the „micromachine” cheap to run, but also it should be exempt from congestion charges and city centre admission limits.

However, it is a pity that Fiat used the everlasting 1,2-litre FIRE engine to motivate the eco-friendly and economical variant of its mini. The 69 PS motor has been again modified, in order to comply with the Euro 5 emission standard, but given that the Italians have the modern MultiAir and TwinAir engines at their disposal, it is a shame they did not opt for those advanced, fuel-saving solutions. By using the FIRE motor, Fiat somewhat reinforced the stereotype of LPG only being suitable for obsolete engine technology. Ah well, what can you do?

More importantly, the car remains as functional as before conversion. The 30,5-litre (usable capacity) toroidal tank should be enough for approx. 460 km of range, if we assume the official fuel economy figures can be achieved in real world driving. This is more than decent, and if – for whatever reason – you decide to use all the petrol available, too (the tank has remained untouched), you can drive for as much as 1300 km before having to refuel. We suppose few will ever do that, so let us instead focus on more practical features of the LPG Panda, such as the boot, which is the same as in petrol and diesel versions. The spare wheel will not be a problem, for it has been gotten rid of in favour of a tyre saver kit. When you go shopping, you will be able to put more groceries in, and when you have a flat, you will not have to remove everything from the trunk to access the spare. The saver kit might sometimes not be enough for flat tyre incidents in highway driving, but then remember the Panda is a city car, not a gran turismo. The car's performance seems to confirm this: top speed is 164 km/h, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes 14,2 s.

Those who wish to cut their fuel bills by half (and happen to live in Italy), have to pay 2000 euros extra to have their Pandas converted to become Pandas EasyPower. All in all, prices range from 12200 euros for the entry-level EasyPower Pop trim to 14200 euros for the EasyPower Easy (!) Panda (with a L:ounge version in between). That is one hefty premium (up to 20 per cent of the original petrol car's value), but apparently people at Fiat know what they are doing – autogas-powered cars in the A market segment are on the rise from 4,9% of total volume in January-April 2011 to 9,7% in the same period of 2012. These figures mean there is a lot to fight for and Panda is a serious contender here as it has been constantly very popular over the years and will probably remain so. As for export markets, check with your local Fiat branch, for the Italian Panda EasyPower is not going to be exported. Instead, you might be able to have the car converted by your dealer.



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Robert Markowski
source: Fiat



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