The concept of a compact hybrid car Pininfarina Eta Beta was created in the mid 90’s by Pininfarina Italian Design Studio and Italy National Research Council and presented at the 1996 Turin Motor Show. The car was equipped with a Fiat Cinquecento 1.1-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 60 hp and two electric motors with a power of 12.5 kW. The front wheels of the car were driven by a gasoline engine, the rear – by the electric motors.
In order to reduce weight of the car, the frame was made of aluminum, with plastic panels. The single-volume body shape was chosen primarily because of the requirement to use the maximum internal space of the car. Doors provide easy access to both the front and rear seats. Door handles are located in the rear pillars. Doors open upwards, possessing rather complicated kinematics.
The length of the car may increase by 20 cm thanks to the elescopically extended rear end. Thus, we can get 3 versions of the car: a city microcar (2 + 2 seats, a short rear overhang), a family city car (4 places, a long rear overhang), a city car, for traveling with luggage (2 seats, a long rear overhang).