New Fiat E-Ducato electric van hits the road in Europe and shows how electric commercial vehicles fit into the current crop of diesel vans and utes.
This is the E-Ducato: Fiat Professional’s large electric van that stands as a direct rival to the likes of the Citroen e-Relay, Peugeot e-Boxer, Mercedes eSprinter, Ford E-Transit and Renault Master E-TECH electric vans. While the Ford electric could be on the cards for Australia, Stellantis remains quiet on E-Ducato.
The electric commercial vehicle is available in the same range of body variants as the diesel equivalent, including panel-van, chassis-cab and passenger minibus versions. It offers from 10 to 17 cubic metres of load volume, and a maximum payload of 1,950kg.
Its motor produces just over 89kW and generates 280Nm of torque, while Fiat says the choice of 47 or 79kWh batteries offers ranges from 182 to 370km in urban conditions. Top speed is limited to 100kph in order to preserve range, while 0-50kph acceleration takes less than six seconds. Normal, Eco and Power driving modes allow drivers to maximise range or motor power as needed depending on the job at hand.
The E-Ducato also sees the introduction of a ‘Recovery Mode’, which allows the van to function even if one of the battery’s modules fails thanks to a unique battery architecture developed by Fiat Professional. Both the 47 and 79kWh versions of the E-Ducato come as standard with the industry-first capability.
The 47kWh unit in entry-level versions can be replenished in just under two and a half hours from a public charging point, while the 79kWh version takes four hours to do the same. Fiat describes the E-Ducato as “100% connected”, with a suite of connectivity features allow it to slot into fleet-management systems of larger operators.
Two trims will be offered, as well as three main body types (panel van, chassis cab and passenger minibus). Standard kit on the entry-level version includes a five-inch touchscreen with DAB and Bluetooth, automatic climate control, a tablet holder, a USB port, a fixed full-width steel bulkhead, heated mirrors, LED lighting in the load area and twin-leaf rear suspension.
Stepping up to the eTecnico gets you a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and sat nav, as well as a rear parking camera with sensors, embroidered headrests, front foglights, heated power-folding door mirrors, LED daytime running lights and a leather steering wheel.
The panel van is available in three different heights (2,309, 2,579 and 2,814mm), three different lengths (5,413, 5,998 and 6,363mm) and three different wheelbase sizes (3,450, 3,800, 4,035mm), while the chassis cab is offered in three different lengths (5,358, 5,708 and 5,943mm) and three different wheelbase sizes (3,450, 3,800 and 4,035mm). The passenger minibus can be ordered in one size specification seating between five and nine passengers as required. Every configuration is available with the choice of either the 47 or 79kWh battery.
The E-Ducato is one of many large electric vans coming onto on the market now, including the Peugeot Boxer and Citroen Relay, which are sister models to the Fiat. It will also rival the Ford E-Transit which is expected to arrive in 2022, although trials of the blue oval’s e-van have already commenced. All these models are aimed at urban-based delivery companies with short, multi-drop routes, enabling them to continue operating as low or zero-emissions zones are introduced to cities.