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Old 06-01-2009, 12:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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My Professor EV (FIAT Downtown)

This is not an happy-ending story.
This is not the story of DIY cars.

That's the story of a dream, of the future and something between.
I am a student of automotive engineering at Turin Polytechnic University.
Most interesting course of the first year is "Automotive history and it's evolution" held by Eng. Filtri.

Part of the course was about EV, their born and evolution.
I was completely astonished by one of his projects: "Downtown".

It was a small car, for three people, that could run for 186 miles using military batteries at sodium-sulphur. Top speed: 62 mph.
Designer of the car was Chris Bangle (I think it wasn't a good design).

It was a good car to go move into the city, and there was a special partnership with IVECO to create some kind of "train" of Downtowns into a cargo with a small lounge on the roof. Everything to connect Turin with Milan using the same city-cars.

Parking seemd to be a a problem, due to car shape. My professor created a small controller like the videogames consoles, outside the car in the back panel. With that was easy to control the car parking (and un-parking) without making all those stuntman manouvres.
It was the greatest idea I have ever seen in Fiat (second only to Common Rail).

Put togheter '90s FIAT crisis, a bad design, people not used to EV... FIAT closed immediately the project.

I have seen the discouragement in the eyes of my professor when my course mates laughted at his car.

I think it was cool (idea, not shape), and it would be interesting for other people in this forum to take ideas from this project.

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Old 06-01-2009, 03:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think that is a pretty slick car. It is far more stylish than other city EV's. See link for pictures:
Fiat Downtown @ CarsfromItaly

I love the idea of center-drive cars. They are compatible on both sides of the pond, they encourage driver attention, and there's cool-factor

I can't imagine it passing a side-impact test for those passengers, though.
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Pretty cool. I'd drive it!

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