August 23, 2019

Top of the class range for electric Ducato

The Fiat Ducato will become the first full electric model in the Italian manufacturer’s range and is claimed to have the best range of any current large electric van in the market.

Power for the Ducato BEV (battery electric vehicle) will come from a 90kW motor developing 280Nm of torque, while a modular battery pack will also enable operators to choose between either a 136-mile claimed range or a segment topping 223-mile range. Fiat will offer two battery packs with 47kWh or 70kWh capacities. Top speed is limited to 62mph in order to improve range. The Ducato BEV will support fast charging, enabling a 30-minute charge to add around 60 miles of range and, unlike the electric Citroën and Peugeot vans which are built on the same chassis but electrified by a third party, Fiat will produce the electric Ducato in-house, straight off the production line in a separate sub-assembly area.

The long-standing segment leading payload that has seen the Ducato rise to become a favourite of bodybuilders is also maintained even in the battery electric vehicle. Complete figures of payload for the BEV variants have yet to be released but thanks to an increase in GVW to the maximum permitted 4.2 tonnes, Fiat says a best-in-class payload of 1,950kg will be possible. Load volume remains unchanged due to the batteries being housed between the chassis and under the floor, which means there’s up to 17m3 of useable space.

Fiat believes that more than 25% of the van segment is ready to go electric and has conducted more than 620,000 miles of testing over the course of a year with 4,000 vehicles to determine the usage patterns of LCVs. As a result, a pilot scheme will initially be launched for the electric Ducato with selected Fiat Professional customers trialling the vans. Fiat has identified several key segments including home delivery and tradesmen. Of the six areas identified Fiat believes it represents 70% of the potential audience for battery electric vehicles. As a result, pilot projects involving several large companies are underway in order to identify specific user demands, which Fiat says will then assist with the individual customisation and configuration of the van.

Pricing has yet to be released, but Fiat believes the total cost of ownership will be on a par with the diesel engine Ducato, so expect higher upfront costs off-set with cheaper running costs when it is launched in 2020.