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Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Inside the Fiat 500: Automatic Climate Control
Automatic climate control is optional on the European Fiat 500. It is a sophisticated unit that is usually reserved for premium cars, but is perfectly in keeping with the 500's high end style.
While we don't know what equipment will be offered on the North American 500, it's probably safe to assume it will offer a similar option. With that in mind, let's take a look at how the system works...
The system on the Fiat 500 implements an ‘equivalent temperature’ climate control strategy. A number of sensors register the indoor and outdoor temperature and evaluate the feeling of thermal well-being perceived by the passenger, i.e. the energy exchange between the human body and the passenger compartment, which is affected by the humidity, the temperature and the flow of treated air.
All these parameters are measured constantly and used to adjust the distribution, ventilation and mixture constantly. This regulates the air flow to the air vents and the fan speed, so that passengers in the car enjoy the sense of thermal well-being they requested (when setting the temperature).
The result is a constant climate, even if the outdoor conditions change; to make sure that the air issuing into the car reaches all corners of the passenger compartment, the system can be adjusted to one of five combinations.
The customer can also modify the temperature gradually, by half a degree at a time, until it is comfortable for him. The knob allows an adjustment of 28°F/16°C.
Manual settings always have priority over automatic settings. They cause the ‘Auto’ LED to go out, and the setting is memorized until the control is annulled. Every time the system is turned on, it will return to the status memorized when it was turned off, except for the ‘MAX DEF’ function, which is canceled.
It is also possible to turn the system off manually, de-activating the climate system completely.
Source: Fiat Group Press