Fiat Professional unveiled its E-Ducato on the 51st Earth Day in a worldwide (virtual) event…

Eric Laforge, Head of LCV Enlarged Europe at Stellantis, presented together with Massimo Temporelli, a university lecturer and passionate popularizer of science,the E-Ducato…

We presented to you already the fully electric E-Ducato on two occasions, and it is good to note that the E-ducato can already be ordered since March 1st.

But on Earth Day, last April 22nd, The E-Ducato was unveiled “on-the-road” at a web conference taking place at several venues, hosted by Massimo Temporelli, a university lecturer and passionate popularizer of science.

Signor Temporelli linked up to several Stellantis and DHL managers, including Eric Laforge, Head of LCV Enlarged Europe at Stellantis, and Alberto Nobis, CEO of DHL EXPRESS Europe, who went in greater depth into the collaboration between the two companies to produce the new model.

Eric Laforge started off telling more about the history of the Ducato, celebrating its 40th year on the market in 2021. Its constant progress has continued, culminating in the position of the best-selling commercial vehicle – all segments included – in Europe in 2020.

The Ducato is also the best motorhome base vehicle and the best-selling vehicle in its class for the 6th year running.

E-Ducato – Ready for any Mission

Eric Laforge, sitting behind the wheel of the E-Ducato in the launch film, states: “For the E-Ducato, we started from the idea of creating not only a “green” vehicle, but also a complete mobility solution, characterized by versatility, reliability, efficiency and sustainability (at both an environmental and an economic level): in short, a working tool to build up your business while respecting the precepts of ecology, a model ready for every mission, uncompromisingly aiming to be the benchmark in the market and to be equipped with the same capabilities as vehicles with internal combustion engines. Its 400 configurations mean it can meet the needs of all professional operators, from freight fleets and construction companies to artisans and municipal service providers.”

100% product efficiency, a project aiming at TCO parity…

Starting off from the configuration of the electrics, the E-Ducato has been modeled around customers’ requirements. Courtesy of its original, uncompromising “all-forward” architecture, with no bulk at the bottom of the chassis and ample distance between the side rails, the new model’s batteries are placed under the floor, leaving intact a load capacity that ranges from 10 to 17 cubic meters in volume and almost 2 tons of weight. Other obvious advantages are the optimal distribution of weight and the lowering of the center of gravity, to improve the vehicle’s handling under all load conditions.

The E-Ducato can achieve equivalent performance to diesel versions, courtesy of an electric motor with maximum torque of 280 NM delivering up to 90 kW of power (approximately 122 hp) and 0-50 km/h acceleration in 5 seconds.

In the launch film, Eric Laforge transports a load towards Milano…

The E-Ducato is also fitted out with a series of modular solutions, starting from 2 different battery blocks – 47 kWh and 79 kWh, and 4 types of charging modes, 3 of which are available at launch. With a 47-kWh battery, the E-Ducato can travel up to 170 km in the WLTP cycle and up to 235 km in the urban cycle. With a 79-kWh battery, the distances increase to 280 km in the WLTP cycle, equivalent to 370 km in the urban cycle. It takes no longer than half an hour to charge up enough to drive 100 km.

It is also worth mentioning that the batteries have a warranty for 10 years or 220,000 km on the 79-kWh version, or 8 years/160,000 km on the 47-kWh model.

To suit every use, the E-Ducato also offers the Drive Mode Selector: in “Normal” position, it ensures the ideal balance between performance and costs, or it can be set to “Eco” mode to save energy. When a really heavy load needs to be carried or the vehicle is facing a demanding ascent, there is last but not least the “Power” mode.

E-Ducato has another two features to provide drivers with safeguard drivers’ peace of mind:

“Turtle Mode”, similar to the battery saver function on a mobile phone, which is activated automatically when the battery is low and limits vehicle performance, to make the battery last 8-10% longer.

“Recovery Mode”, making the E-Ducato the only electric vehicle that never stops. In fact, if one battery module does not work, the others take its place to make sure it can keep going.

Low on maintenance cost…

On top of that, the maintenance costs for the E-Ducato will be about 40% lower than a vehicle with a conventional engine. Its total cost of ownership (TCO) in its main missions can therefore be expected to be in line with the diesel versions: a great result, making the vehicle sustainable not only from an environmental perspective, but also an economic one, providing a business-oriented solution.

In Italy, the E-Ducato is priced from €42,700 + VAT with a trade-in. Included in the price is the Top Care by Mopar program, including routine maintenance and a warranty extension to 5 years or 120,000 km.

With the E-Ducato, it is possible to achieve parity of Total Cost of Ownership (taking into account current incentive conditions and current market rates) compared to a comparable diesel vehicle in just 48 months, based on usage of 20,000 km per year.

The partnership with DHL

Underlying the performance of the E-Ducato are 5 years of real-world data collection. This has taken the form of 4,000 connected vehicles that uploaded data for 1 year, when the vehicles traveled over 50 million kilometers, in all driving, loading and weather conditions. Data gathering was carried out quite fast, and in very close collaboration with customers performing the most diverse delivery and professional missions. This enabled Fiat Professional to identify bespoke solutions from the prototype phase onwards, based on the needs of individual customers in the real world.

In the quest for a partner offering the best value, Stellantis began a tight-knit collaboration in 2016 with DHL, a world leader in international freight transport, participating also substantially into the e-commerce boom. This partnership has given rise to a virtuous circle with the possibility of a focus on the E-Ducato, starting from DHL’s real-world missions, and to project them into a context of sustainable electric mobility.

From left to right: Eric Laforge, Massimo Temporelli and Alberto Nobis.

In the words of Alberto Nobis, CEO of DHL EXPRESS Europe: “We firmly believe that the future of last-mile logistics is electric. To achieve our objective of connecting people and improving their lives, we are committed to becoming greener and cleaner in what we do every single day. By adding E-Ducatos to our fleet, we will take the next big step in reaching our goal of electrifying most of our last-mile delivery by 2030. We’ve found what we were looking for in Fiat Professional: state-of-the-art technology and powerful batteries that will enable us to travel until 200 km on a single charge, to get to our customers quickly while respecting the environment.”

For Eric Laforge, Head of LCV Enlarged Europe at Stellantis, the E-Ducato project is a journey towards innovation and the future: “We’re proud that a player as important as DHL Express has chosen the E-Ducato as part of such an ambitious goal. With the E-Ducato, our task was not only to develop a sustainable product from both an economic and environmental perspective, but most of all to provide a complete mobility solution for our partners.”

E-Ducato connectivity – Apps and services

There was no way Mopar Connect could miss out on its contribution to the development of the E-Ducato.

Great importance was given over to the wide range of functions that can be activated “remotely”, including My:Fleet Manager, the new fleet management service, 6 months of which are included in the price of the vehicle as a special promotion for the E-Ducato. Using a web-based platform, fleet managers will be able to keep the main variables for each unit in the fleet under control in real time, including mileage, location and updates on maintenance, charging schedule and much more. All this with the aim of improving fleet efficiency and productivity, reducing costs, preventing risks, and ensuring the safety of both the vehicle and the driver.

On top of that, the inclusion of Mopar® Connect as standard on all E-Ducatos provides a wide range of other services, such as assistance in the event of an accident or breakdown (the telematics box, which detects the vehicle’s location, ensures prompt, targeted service 24/7). If the vehicle is stolen, the system can locate it and prevent it from being restarted, to make it easier to find. The Uconnect LIVE mobile app means you can check whether you have closed the doors, find where you’ve parked it and receive an alert if the vehicle is moved from its previous location or exceeds a preset speed limit.

The Uconnect LIVE mobile app also includes a wide range of other features, such as my:Car, providing remote control of battery level or tire pressure, as well as monthly vehicle health reports. There is also the my:Journey service, to view and manage all vehicle movements, and the my:eCharge pack, developed specifically for the E-Ducato, to plan charging, find, use and pay for public charge points and manage charging from your connected Wallbox.

Readiness for the new era of e-Mobility

These days, the transition to a sustainable electric and electrified mobility first and foremost requires the development of a network of public and private charging stations for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. At the same time, it requires a rethink of electricity production and distribution. Stellantis is developing solutions to fulfill every requirement: the agreement with Engie EPS, a leading player in the energy sector, is a move in this direction, the partnership having resulted in the current creation of Free2Move eSolutions. The tasks of this new joint venture will range from charging infrastructure (installation, servicing and operations) to public and home charging subscriptions with a monthly fee, all the way to battery life cycle management and advanced energy services such as the integration of Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) systems and energy management solutions to reduce total cost of ownership.

Pro Fit

In close collaboration with the e-Mobility team, Fiat Professional has developed Pro Fit by E-Ducato (available on the web and as an app, free from the App Store and Google Play), as part of its work to boost knowledge of electrified vehicles and their use.

Taking as a starting point the perspective of fleet managers and small/medium-sized businesses that use the current internal combustion Ducato for their missions, Pro Fit was designed and created as a veritable simulator. To start off, all you need to do is sign up on the dedicated website and inform about your current fleet of commercial vehicles with internal combustion engines, indicating the type of vehicle you use (body, wheelbase, height, etc.) and selecting the usage (route, mileage, operating temperature, etc.) for each one.

Once you have activated the simulation, Pro Fit recommends the ideal composition of your new electric fleet by indicating the most suitable E-Ducato configurations for the user’s business. Pro Fit then recommends the most suitable E-Ducato configurations available, and indicates each one’s expected performance against client requirements. This makes it possible to find out, for example, whether you have enough range left or what the annual savings amount to.

Leasys rental solutions for the new E-Ducato

With Leasys, it will be possible to get into the new E-Ducato and drive in total freedom without the burdens and worries related to operating costs. Your choices are unlimited: you can decide how far to go, what services to include, and if your mobility needs change, you can add new ones at any time. You can manage all the services conveniently, including from your smartphone, using the dedicated UMOVE app.

The new E-Ducato will be available on the long-term “Noleggio Chiaro Light” (Rental Lite) and “Be Free Pro” rental schemes.

“Noleggio Chiaro Light” is the scheme that offers rental for a competitive fee with a limited set of services: TPL coverage, roadside assistance, and the I-Care infomobility service. It also entitles customers to a right of pre-emption on vehicle purchase at the end of the rental period. “Noleggio Chiaro” is also available for the conventional scheme, for those looking for an all-inclusive package, which adds on routine and non-routine maintenance as well as theft, fire and damage repair coverage.

“Be Free Pro” is the Leasys mobility solution designed to meet the needs of all freelancers. No deposit to pay, a fixed monthly fee, plus the main insurance, assistance and infomobility services are all included. And if your business needs, change you can return the vehicle after 30 months with no penalty for early return. The fee insurance, road tax, TPL, stamp duty, the infomobility system, and roadside assistance. Customers can also sign up to the “Be Free Pro Plus” scheme, which includes damage repair cover, theft and fire cover, and routine and non-routine maintenance.

“Free to E” by FCA Bank, the freedom to choose electric.

Getting on board with innovation with the E-Ducato’s electric mobility has never been easier, thanks to FCA Bank. Customers can choose two financing options: installments or leasing. They can also choose to include the “Free to E” scheme in their loan, meaning they can return their E-Ducato within 2 months of purchase and a maximum mileage of 1,500 km, the only commitment being to purchase a Ducato with an internal combustion engine, a Talento or a Doblò. To supplement its financial solutions, FCA Bank also offers a full range of insurance services, each of which can be combined with the financing agreement entered into.

I will also put some further questions about the development of this e-Ducato in an interview with one or more people behind the project, so there is more to come…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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