The big news at the Geneva auto show this year has been the unveiling of the Audi Q4 compact electric SUV and the Honda Urban EV in near production-ready form as well as the “pie in the sky” announcements from Piëch about its ground breaking, “never seen anything like this” battery and charging technology. But there have been other big announcements in Geneva this year, perhaps none of them more interesting that the modular, customizable electric car Fiat brought to the show.
Fiat Centoventi Concept
The Centoventi (120) concept from Fiat is intriguing, to say the least. Electric cars lend themselves to a skateboard platform — a pancake battery mounted between wheels that are pushed out toward the corners of the car. Just thinking about it makes people dream about the good old days when a Volkswagen Beetle chassis could become the basis of a dune buggy, a replica of an MG TD, or any one of a number of different variants. Could the electric skateboard design spawn a new era of infinitely customizable cars? Fiat certainly thinks so.
What follows is what they call on Jeopardy! a “visual daily double.” Feast your eyes on these graphics and we will fill you in on the details below.
Here’s more from The Verge. Centoventi means 120 in Italian. The Centoventi is meant to commemorate Fiat’s 120 years as an automaker, which makes it one of the oldest marques in the world. Customers will have a choice of four different roofs, four bumpers, four wheel covers, and four paint wraps. Among the roof choices are a soft top option or a solar panel that helps power the cars electronics.
The fully customizable interior even has attachment points for accessories that owners could create with their 3D printers at home. The company will offer a dizzying array of 114 accessories from seat cushions to head restraints to bottle holders and sound systems marketed under the Mopar brand.
“[T]his is a new business model for automotive accessories, enabling them to be resold or traded on the Web, nurturing a real community of brand fans or connoisseurs of Fiat’s Italian design, just as with collectors’ items,” according to a Fiat press release. “This new business model is focused on e-Commerce, the virtual market that knows no boundaries.”
Some will be quick to make a connection between Fiat’s new online accessory plan and Tesla’s 100% online sales model. The internet is taking over the world of sales (it has already made Jeff Bezos the wealthiest sexter in the history of the world) and companies can either lead, follow, or get out of the way.
The battery is customizable as well, beginning with a smallish unit with a paltry 100 kilometers of range and going all the way up to a much larger unit with 500 km of range. Batteries could be purchased with the car or leased. Leasing could be an attractive option for many as it would allow subsequent owners to select the appropriate size battery for their needs without being locked in by the choice of the original purchaser. Very smart, Fiat.
Mitsubishi Unveils New V2G Technology
Mitsubishi is presenting its Dendo Drive House vehicle-to-grid technology in Geneva this week. It’s a renewable energy/electric car owners dream — solar panels, home storage battery, inverter, and bi-directional car charger all in one system that people can purchase directly from Mitsubishi dealers, according to The Verge. Maintenance will be included in the package as well. The system is compatible with battery electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.
While V2G trials are taking place at the moment both in Europe and America, Mitsubishi says its system will be available for purchase later this year, making it the first to market. It won’t be cheap, however. The bi-directional charger itself is said to cost around €10,000, although Mitsubishi says it is working to make it less expensive. Let us know when that happens, please. Maybe at around €2,500 people might start to get interested.