An animal moves silently through the forest, perfectly integrated in the natural environment. The designers of Fiat’s Brazilian design centre use a zoomorphic image halfway between an insect and a predator to describe the character of the FCC II – Bugster, the concept presented at the Sao Paolo Motor Show at the end of October.

To the European observer, this, essentially a high tech dune buggy, is a rather unusual subject for a show car. “It is a genre very much in tune with the realities of Brazil” argues Peter Fassbender, director of Fiat design for Latin America Latina, noting that endless beaches and untarred roads are more than just rare exceptions for Brazilian users.

The running prototype built by Fassbender and his team is, however, far removed from traditional rear engined dune buggies based on the old Beetle. The FCC II (Fiat’s second concept car created in Brazil after the FCC Adventure in 2006) is a two seater sports model featuring innovative technology. “This car was our laboratory”, continues Fassbender, describing the project. “We started from the idea of creating a vehicle that was environmentally sustainable yet feasible and usable in the near future. We immediately opted for an electric motor, as Fiat has experience with the technology in Europe.”

Indeed, there are a number of electric cars in use at the hydroelectric power station at the Iguazu falls, the largest in the world. The motor for the FCC, developed especially for the car, produces 80 bhp and 220 Nm of torque, offers a range of approximately 110 Km and is mated to the Dualogic transmission system used in the Fiat Linea and Stilo in Brazil. Power comes from 93 lithium ion batteries which may be recharged from any 220 V mains socket.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 174

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