Fiat Group Automobiles, with the brands Fiat and Fiat Professional, are participating as Technical Sponsor in the "Green Schooner" initiative, which will run from 27th June to 18th August. The initiative is a summer campaign run by Legambiente, which has been travelling the Italian coastlines since 1986, providing information on seawater cleanliness and organizing events linked to safeguarding the marine and coastal ecosystem. Leading roles on the tour will be played by the two famous boats "Catholica" and "Delphin", and a fleet of cars and commercial vehicles (the Doblò Cargo, the Multipla and the Panda Panda Climbing), which will accompany the "Green Schooner" technicians along the Italian coast, visiting the resorts chosen for water sampling and testing.

Fiat is one of the international automotive brands responding most effectively to the need to limit the impact of transport on the environment. Fiat is proposing specific solutions that are within the reach of everyone and are available today to achieve this significant goal. This is borne out by the products present on the market; research and development plans; sustainable mobility initiatives promoted in conjunction with governments - and investments in new product development.

Among other things, the company JATO – world leader in automotive research and consulting, set up in 1984 and present in more than 40 countries - has recently announced that, out of the ten biggest selling automobile brands in Europe, Fiat Automobiles is the brand that recorded the lowest average CO2 emissions value for cars sold in 2007: 137.3 g/km. Bolstered by this result and irrespective of what will be decided in Europe, Fiat Automobiles is aiming to achieve the lowest average adjusted level of CO2 emissions for its cars by 2012.

Fiat also believes that methane propulsion systems are currently the most appropriate and readily-available technology for resolving pollution problems in urban areas. This is because the use of methane has positive implications in terms of environmental benefits (reduction of approximately 23% in CO2 emissions and reduction of PM emissions to practically zero). Furthermore, methane proves itself to be a valid financial alternative to traditional fuels (diesel and petrol), which are increasingly subject to rising prices. An example? For a Panda Panda a full tank of methane (12 kg) costs around 10 euro and allows for a range of 270 km over a combined cycle.

In addition, Natural Power cars can be relied upon to register minimal emissions: this means the customer can drive around town centres with traffic restrictions (due to excessive pollution) and also park the car in garages. Moreover, Italy's methane distribution network is becoming more and more widespread: there are currently more than 600 plants with plans for the opening of around 100 new distributors before long.

A world leader in OEM methane-driven cars (in Italy almost 80,000 cars were sold from January 2007 to May 2008), Fiat Group Automobiles is the first manufacturer to offer a wide range of dual fuel methane-petrol vehicles in its eco-friendly "Natural Power" range, responding to the mobility needs of an extensive number of people, including the trade, crafts, and goods transportation sectors:
Multipla Natural Power, Punto Natural Power, Panda Panda Natural Power, Panda Panda Climbing Natural Power and Doblò Natural Power. Climbing Natural Power, Doblò Natural Power
The cars and commercial vehicles that make up the Natural Power fleet made available to Legambiente's "Green Schooner" campaign are described below.

Panda Panda Climbing
Along with the Panda Panda and Panda Panda Van versions, the Panda Panda Climbing completes the range of a model with a low environmental impact that has now become a benchmark for sustainable urban mobility. The Panda Panda model is also the ideal car for small company fleets, because, like all methane-driven vehicles, it can be driven around without any restrictions.

Equipped with a 1.2 dual fuel petrol/methane engine, the Panda Panda Climbing (with 4x2 drive) inherits all the aesthetic features of the Panda 4x4 Climbing: from the special bumpers to the large protective strips that match the mouldings on the wings. The car also comes with a vast array of equipment: from ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) to Dualdrive™ electric power steering, a Blaupunkt radio with CD player and MP3 reader, and a climate system with pollen filter. Customers can choose from nine body colours, three interiors with special fabric upholstery, and numerous options from the Lineaccessori range.

The new Panda Panda Climbing offers plenty of features and a personality of its own, plus all the innovative features of the Panda Panda. Two separate methane tanks have been incorporated in the floorpan, which is derived from the 4x4 version, with a total capacity of 72 litres (12 kg), thus maintaining the roominess of the original car, where both passenger space and luggage space are concerned (with a single or split rear seat, luggage compartment capacity increases from 190 to 840 dm3, measured up to the ceiling). And the capacity of 72 litres guarantees a range of 270 km over a combined cycle, running on methane alone. The petrol tank capacity remains unchanged compared to the petrol version (30 litres) thus ensuring peace of mind even where methane suppliers are thin on the ground (over 700 km over a combined cycle, running on methane and petrol).

Multipla Natural Power
The Multipla Natural Power offers a dual methane and petrol fuel system with two independent circuits. The car normally runs on methane and only needs petrol for start up. After that, it automatically switches to the other system. In this way, the petrol fuel system remains efficient and is only required when the gas in the cylinders is about to run out. It is, however, always possible to change from methane to petrol and vice versa at will by pressing a button on the dashboard.

The power unit fitted to the Multipla Natural Power is a 1.6 Torque 16 valve that adopts a phased sequential Multipoint system. This engineering feature allows the engine to obtain all the benefits of a petrol engine from a methane engine. The car guarantees outstanding handling: when running on methane its maximum power is 68 kW (92 CV) at 5750 rpm, while its torque is 130 Nm (13.3 kgm) at 4000 rpm. When it runs on petrol, its vital statistics are 76 kW (103 BHP) at 5750 rpm and 145 Nm (14.8 kgm) at 4000 rpm.

And the fuel consumption figures are very attractive. When running on methane, the Multipla Natural Power consumes 7.5 kg/100 km (over an urban cycle), 5.0 kg/100 km (extraurban) and 5.9 kg/100 km (combined); when running on petrol (the tank contains 38 litres), the results are 11.9 l/100 km, 7.5 l/100 km and 9.1 l/100 km respectively. Lastly, the natural gas is loaded into three steel cylinders located under the floor that offer an overall capacity of 164 litres and can contain 26.0 kg of methane to ensure a maximum range of 520 kilometres (440 km over a combined cycle and 345 km over an urban cycle). The performance figures are also very respectable. In fact the minimum environmental impact version of the Multipla Natural Power reaches a top speed of 168 km/h with a petrol fuel system (157 km/h with methane) and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 13.5 seconds (petrol) and 16 seconds (methane)

Doblò Cargo Natural Power
Through its Natural Power range, Fiat Group Automobiles also targets an extensive category of professional users: from shopkeepers to tradespeople, small/medium-sized enterprises to the public sector. The range includes the Doblò Cargo, the versatile model named "International Van of the Year 2006" by an international panel made up of specialist commercial vehicle sector journalists from 19 European countries.

The Doblò Cargo Natural Power, equipped with a petrol and methane fuel system, is equipped with a 1.6 Torque 16 valve (Euro 4) engine that develops 92 bhp and 130 Nm of torque in methane mode but delivers 103 bhp and 145 Nm when it runs on petrol. This Fiat Professional commercial vehicle also has a methane tank consisting of three cylinders containing methane in a gaseous state (rated pressure of 200 bars at 15°C), located under the floor to allow full use to be made of the load compartment (payload, with driver, of 700 kg). Their capacity is 111 litres (equivalent to 19 kg) that guarantee a range of 300 kilometres plus an additional range of 330 km when running on petrol (30 litres tank) over a combined cycle. The Doblò Cargo Natural Power assures low fuel consumption (9.0 m3/100km equal to 5.7 kg/100km over a combined cycle) and minimal emissions in absolute safety so that customers can drive through all urban areas subject to traffic restrictions.