Giannini Automobili, a company known for its extensive modifications on earlier Fiat 500 models, has a history with Fiat and expanded its expertise to include other Fiat models such as the Panda. After facing economic challenges, Giannini primarily focused on manufacturing body parts. However, the company now intends to reintroduce complete cars, particularly compact ones.
The new project, named USO, was unveiled by Giannini. It is an all-electric vehicle characterized by its resemblance to the Fiat Panda 312 in terms of visual aesthetics, albeit with a more delicate appearance. The Giannini USO measures 3.17 meters in length, slightly taller than the iconic Fiat Nuova 500 from the 1960s, and over half a meter longer than the first-generation Smart. The increased length is due to the cargo space, as the USO is designed to function as a miniature pickup truck. The vehicle’s width and height, both measuring 1.61 meters, make it well-suited for navigating narrow roads, such as those found in Sicily.
Despite its off-road appearance, the mini electric van does not feature all-wheel drive. The electric motor only powers the rear axle. The power output is modest, with a continuous power rating of 15 kW and a maximum power output of 30 kW. The 15 kW power rating aligns with the EU registration class L7e-CU, which represents the commercial vehicle category for light vehicles.
This class has less stringent registration requirements compared to conventional cars, particularly in terms of safety features and autonomous driving capabilities. The USO does not include airbags, brake assistance systems, or advanced autonomous driving programs. In theory, it should be less expensive to purchase than a conventional car.
Also, the USO can be easily restricted to meet the regulations of L6e vehicles, which can be driven by individuals holding an appropriate AM driver’s license from the age of 16. This concept is similar to the Renault Twizy, which offers two driver’s license variants.
To cater to the parking habits prevalent in southern Europe, Giannini has equipped the USO with various protective elements. These features provide added protection during parking maneuvers and safeguard the vehicle from potential damage caused by neighboring cars. The loading area is divided into two sections and is designed to be robust.
It includes a practical heavy-duty drawer below the window line, offering protection against weather and theft. Above the drawer, there is a sturdy loading platform secured by side bars. This area can accommodate various items, from construction materials to agricultural products. The loading platform can support up to 250 kilograms of weight.
Giannini plans to offer the USO in four different matte colors. The company emphasizes that the vehicle’s design hides scratches and imperfections well. Although no interior images have been released yet, the two-seater USO will come with full LED lighting, optional auxiliary headlights, a roll bar, and scratch-resistant matte paintwork. Air conditioning will also be included.
The battery capacity is specified at 21 kWh, providing a range of 235 kilometers with road tires. With the off-road tires, the range decreases to 140 kilometers per full charge. The maximum speed of the USO is 90 km/h.
However, the price tag for the USO is relatively high, set at €28,500 net. It’s important to note that this price does not include electric vehicle incentives (€3,000 or €4,000 if replacing an end-of-life vehicle) available in Italy.