The Spanish, more ardent version of the Volkswagen ID.3 is the Seat Cupra Born. More, sporting, more zesty, more panache, that’s what the VW group wants to offer here. And indeed, this Fully electric Cupra fills the bill, when it comes to looks, handling and performance. We put for you the 150 kW version through its paces, equipped with the 58 kWh battery. As you already well know, electric motors have formidable torque, and this Cupra surely delivers at the traffic light. It sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 7,3 seconds, and so the beautiful EV story is again told, performance wise at least. But the Born has also other (dynamic) qualities, just read further…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Looking at our Cupra test car, we liked its colour palette very much, and the external sporty styling elements. Also bystanders admired it, so yes it enhances clearly the personality of this car. I like the front end, the copper coloured badging, the big roof spoiler above the rear window, the nice streamlined alloys, the texture on the c pillar.
Also the interior breathes this flamboyant sportiness, although what screens, instrumentation and buttons are concerned, it is identical to the ID.3. The design of the dashboard surface does look a bit cooler though, with some added textures and copper coloured surroundings of the centre console for instance. Very nice are also the body hugging front seats.
On both sides of the steering column one finds buttons like a Formula 1 driver would use. The right button puts you immediately in the sports mode. Performance galore, but your range will soon dwindle, even more so in winter. With the left button you can click through the available driving modes, from eco to sports.
Given de immediacy and sheer amount of the available power, we found the “eco” mode more than enough for our needs, and it gave us also a more or less reasonable range. Our test car had the 58 kW battery, and this gives you a theoretical range of 425 kilometres. That supposes of course very fair weather and a driving style which even trucks find on the slow side. Under the same driving style, my Hybrid Lexus clocks then 3,9 liters/100 km… indeed, an EV rewards you with a sedate driving style in town, and very moderate cruising speeds up to max 100/110 km on the open road. Then things are truly fine. The simple truth is, the laws of physics apply everyday everywhere, for all EV’s too, miracles just don’t happen. By the way, the top speed of this Cupra is limited to 160 km/h. At higher speeds, you would spend exponentially more time at the charging stations, so there is no time gain and thus no point in going faster.
You can opt for a more powerful Cupra Born with a 170 HP motor and a bigger 77 kW battery, which would give you also a higher range of 550 km, but we found our test car totally sufficient, once you adhere to the philosophy of environmentally friendly EV driving, smooth and sedate, flow the traffic, drive with anticipation and make minimal use if the brakes, letting the electric motor recuperate the energy. We are totally convinced that this is the only way an EV should be driven. Everything else is rather absurd, given that an EV is meant to emit less and protect our world. The Cupra has also the nice “B” position on the drive selector, and that lets you use the regeneration fully so you can really drive and brake this car using one pedal only.
Smoothness is what you go for…
Refinement is your biggest reward when you choose an EV. The Born delivers here too, as you could expect. Utter silence, mechanical smoothness, it is unsurpassed. Abundant torque is always at your disposal, immediate response at the slightest blip of the throttle. Just wonderful.
The handling of the Born is also a notch better than the ID.3. The Born sits lower on its wheels, has wider tyres, bigger brakes, and steers more direct and precise. Just more fun behind the wheel here.
Otherwhis it runs on the same platform as the ID.3, the celebrated MEB platform of the VW group. By the way, it also comes from the same assembly lines as the ID.3…
The Born is well equipped, and has all you could wish for in terms of driver assistance systems and connectivity. The haptic slider controls of the ID.3 are also found on this Born. They take some getting used to, and the new ID.3 will undergo some changes, of which future Borns will also benefit of course. The annoying thing about their sensitivity is that one sometimes turns on the sound volume as you brush the steering heel spokes when taking a corner! The car is roomy enough for four, with plenty of leg and headroom in the back, due to the rather narrow bodywork it gets a bit cramped for three adults in the back. The door bins are large also in the back, and one gets also two USB connections for the rear passengers.
Boot space is adequate with some 385 liters, when you fold the rear seats down, there is still a ridge where you have to lift your luggage over. On the other hand, it prevents heavy luggage items to slide forward…
The Born is of course well geared for the future, and the 58 kW battery accepts fast charging of up to 120 kW. This means that you can charge from 10 to 80 pct in merely 35 minutes. When our infrastructure is up and running, this is good news. It will set you free to use the full EV power more often, provided the energy prices stay reasonable of course.
This Cupra Born has the extra panache which makes it even more attractive to some than the ID.3, which is build rather with a no nonsense futuristic flair, which we happen also to like by the way. Embedded into the VW group with its massive experience and know how, this Cupra will prove to be reliable and (very) long lived, so you will be able to enjoy it for many years to come, with a bit more zest added…
Lexus comes to our shores with an all electric compact SUV, based on the already familiar UX 300. An inevitable step, creating an EV besides the eminently capable hybrid version. It is the trend of the times, and Lexus has to follow suit. Of course, renowned for offering excellent and state of the art technology, expectations about how this Lexus EV will drive and perform are understandably very high indeed.
Well, it didn’t disappoint. The UX runs on an excellent (compact) TGNA platform, and it houses the 150 kW motor driving the front wheels with a healthy 300 Nm of torque. Not only delivers it the wonderful silent, supersmooth propulsion we appreciate so much in EV’s, it also goes like a rocket. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in merely 7,5 seconds, hurtling further to a limited top speed of 160 km/h. Not very impressive on German Autobahnen, but more than enough for the whole rest of the world.
Well balanced, sporty and refined driving pleasure
So the UX is engine-wise totally wonderful to drive in town, on winding roads and on the motorway. The chassis and suspension also show their best side. Its handling can even be called sporty. Beisdes the stiff chassis, this is also the result of the ideal weight distribution, with the 54,3 kW battery with its 388 cells is sitting very low beneath the floor of the passenger cabin ad above the rear seats. Indeed the Lexus UX 300e is a very well balanced car.
Driving this EV is very simple. We advise you to put the gearshift right away in “B”, which lets you regenerate kinetic energy when coasting or braking. With the paddles on the steering wheel you can control the amount of regeneration in four stages. After a while you have learned to judge the resulting braking force, and soon you know how to move trough urban traffic without touching the brakes at all.
Indeed you need all the regeneration you can get, and you are also well advised to adopt a relaxed and anticipative driving style throughout, as you want the E-consumption to be low. Given a consumption of 16,8 kW, the range is a good 300 kilometers, but in mixed driving conditions, this soon melts significantly below 300 km, and in practice a range of 250-280 km is more realistic.
When you will use your UX 300e more intensively, frequent recharging is your fate, as the range is rather limited. Fortunately this Lexus gives you the possibility of rapid charging, using a second Chademo DC charging socket, allowing you to charge at a rate of up to 50 kW. This would allow you to charge te battery up to 80 pct in a good 50 minutes. The normal AC charging points allow you to charge at a maximum rate of 6,6 kW, so recharging the battery would cost you a good 7-8 hours.
With the present charging infrastructure in Belgium, finding an AC charging point in towns like Antwerp or Knokke is already rather difficult. On top,of that, wIth the rising popularity of EV’s your servant finds the available charging points within reasonable distance of his home permanently occupied most of the time. So available range becomes ever more important in a modern EV.
Comfort, handling panache and practicality.
With the batteries stowed away beneath the floor, a boot space of 367 liters is available, and actually there is very little which discerns the e-version from the normal UX 300. We like, even rather love is the better word, its dashboard layout, the placement of its commands, the command pad for the 10,3 inch screen, you name it.
We are indeed fiercely in favour of a distance command for the centre screen. It avoids getting muddy fingerprints on it, and when driving on a wobbly road surface its that much easier to pinpoint your finger on a touchpad which is that much closer to you.
Generally speaking, your servant personally also refrains from criticisms on the placement of commands, knobs and the like, as we test drive the car only for a relatively short period, say a day or seven, and the prospective owner will drive this car for months on end at least. So he (she) will get used to the placement and manipulation of all the commands that much better, and will come perfectly to terms with all of them.
We like the quality touch and feel of all the knobs and commands in this Lexus, the excellent seats, the wonderful seating position, the wide array of driving assist features offered. Indeed, it is a joy to be behind the wheel of this Lexus. We already appreciated the handling of this UX, add to this the accurate and sensitive steering and the total absence of body roll, and you will see that this Lexus puts a smile on your face when you take it through its paces on winding roads.
On the motorway, you are also cosseted by its stability and overall refinement, the superb Levinson sound system als being a joy for your ears.
Last word about the Lexus guarantees. They can vary form country to country, and in Belgium the factory guarantee is 3 years or 100.000 km. For hybrid components and hybrid batteries, it’s even 5 years. Belgium has also introduced a so-called “Lexus Relax” scheme. When your Lexus is less than 10 years old, or has driven less than 185.000 kilometers, and you service your car at an authorised Lexus dealer, you will get a 1 year/15.000 km guarantee, which can be renewed at every subsequent service…
The Lexus UX is even more refined on e-power, making every trip a very satisfying experience. Its range could be somewhat bigger when you move around a lot. The advantages are that the car weighs only 1,7 tonnes, and this is good for overall handling, performance and e-consumption.
European and Belgian politicians, make the infrastructure more available, the needs of our EV fleet are rapidly expanding, this is something which now becomes very important indeed, if we want to succeed in this transition…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Photographers’ notes: We used for the photos here our mirrorless Sony A 5100. Not only an ideal vlog/video camera, it also performs outstandingly as a photo camera.
It’s compact, has an outstanding 24 megapxel processor, and interchangeable lenses. We recently bought a Metabones adapter ring for it, so I can use my Nikon lenses on this camera. Wait for the results!
Our faithful Lexus CT 200h continues to please us. Over the past year, it clocked an average consumption of 4,8 litres/100 km, and besides fuel, it really did not need anything else. Well to wheel, it scores still very well, and given its longevity and reliability, its footprint is also quite small, adding to this that it doesn’t carry a massive array of batteries…
We had it serviced in June 2020, with amounted to basically an oil and filter change, and it will be scheduled for a new service next Wednesday December 22 at Beerens in Aartselaar. Nothing further to report, except that it rides ever so smoothly.
Our Lexus has some very clever items we started to like over the years, like for instance the command and manipulation of the infotainment system and screen via a “mouse” on the centre console.
Ever tried to enter a lengthy address on the touchscreen with your finger when “on the move”, with your car bouncing like a toy car on a cobblestoned or uneven road? Right, that’s what we mean…
Add to this the fact that your touchscreen gets so muddled up with finger marks, not exactly what you want in Corona times… So in the Lexus you rest your arm gently on the centre console, where it lies beautifully steady, and then slide the arrow with the mouse knob over the letters or symbols on the screen, and presto…
Our Lexus “sleeps” out in the open all year round, it doesn’t have a garage. Despite this, paintwork is still beautiful, also the beige interior holds very well, as the photos show.
The car deserves a proper polish and wax treatment, and we will get around that next year… promised!
We put it though the technical control recently and, as the photo shows, there was indeed nothing wrong with our Lexus. So we have another year – until 31st of December 2022.
At the first presentation of the E-Ducato in mid- 2019 we met up with some very remarkable people of Fiat Professional, notably with Angelica Carapezza, now responsible for managing and coordinating the implementation of the Ducato’s electrification programs at full scale.
Now with the E-Ducato “coming of age” as it were with its commercial launch, after having went through a very thorough process of profiling the customer and their needs, we were very intrigued how this process exactly went about. All the more reasons for a second interview. The first interview, where we told you more about Angelica Carapezza’s multi-faceted career, can of course also be read in our columns, by following the link https://autoprova.be/2019/09/15/women-behind-cars-angelica-carapezza/.
Just read our second interview with Mme Carapezza here below…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
HK: The Ducato has built up an enviable reputation of commercial success, so launching a fully electric version is quite a challenge, as the expectations of the market are high. What was your business philosophy here in positioning the E-Ducato into the market?
AC: We have a long 120-year history in the LCV market, and Fiat Professional has always been a Brand that “lets the facts speak for themselves”. It is down to earth, so to say, producing vehicles that are first and foremost an ideal tool for the small or big entrepreneur who wants to grow his business. With this approach throughout the years, we achieved an undisputed leadership position in the world of light commercial vehicles, as shown by the figures for the Ducato: over 5 million units produced since 1981 in the biggest plant in the world, having also conquered over 75% of volumes in the Caravan bases sector and, finally, having achieved the European Best Seller status in 2020.
HK: Being close to the customer, responding to its needs, how did this translate in the actual approach?
AC: We wanted the E-Ducato to be absolutely “tailor made”. I can refer here to the Press Statement recently released by Stellantis about our “Pilot Project” to tune the E-Ducato to the needs of our customers, but let me explain it also a bit more for you here how we went about.
We first started with gathering data. With a solid database, you know where you’re going. So we collected data for a whole year from 4,000 thermal Ducato vehicles, whose control units, connected in real time, allowed the different individual mission profiles of our customers to be identified in their real application on the road.
Then we started analyzing the collected data, and aggregated them. Now, and this is of course crucial, we had established ourselves a very good idea about the profile of daily missions which could be accomplished by an electric instead of a thermal vehicle without causing any business interruption for the customer: in this way we identified the market segment which is “ready to divert” from thermal to electric, based on their specific mission(s) or activity and the size of their fleet.
This analysis which well founded, as it was carried out after not less than 50 million km being traveled by connected vehicles. This confirms again how deep knowledge about customers and their needs is fundamental and conditio sine qua non for the successful sale of commercial vehicles.
HK: Based on your findings, you could now further develop and fine-tune the engineering of the E-Ducato…
AC: Indeed, but we wanted our customers also to test out right from the beginning our pre-production vehicles, and communicate to us their findings during further development of the E-Ducato. We wanted them to have “their” driving experience in the field, based on real life conditions. To achieve this, we launched a “Pilot Project” so complete and complex that it was unprecedented in the history of Fiat Professional. During this engineering development phase of the electric version of the Ducato, we produced a mini fleet of pre-series vehicles and then assigned them to strategic customers. This time it allowed us to sample further data in purely electric mode.
Briefly, each user is assigned a vehicle on free loan for a period of 4-6 weeks, depending on mission/s tested, geography, type of paths chosen, allowing each customer effectively and empirically to start “his” Ducato experience.
The final target is to identify “his” vehicle, which is the result of the combination of two key and indivisible elements: offer and demand. Fiat Ducato’s commercial offer covers more than 18.000 different versions of the same vehicle, available with either thermic or electric propulsion, so you may imagine how important is for us to provide always the right and the best solution to our customers. In other words, we find the right match between on one hand the customer’s specific needs (type of route, daily km, delivery times/shifts, working days, type of goods transported and charging profile) and on the other hand the “right” Ducato with its wide range of product combinations (battery size, body configuration, options).
This allowed a “real life” customer profile to be established, and so we could tailor the E-Ducato not only ideally to its specific delivery tasks and missions, but also to the individual market-specific requirements and local conditions, with indeed the geography being another important key factor in the choice of the vehicles.
HK: Very remarkable, this close cooperation with customers. Does it have a following?
AC: Right indeed, the collaboration with selected customers for the “Pilot Project” continues today and covers various communication channels: press, web, social, co-marketing, joint participation in events and promotion of new experimental business lines.
Furthermore, in terms of identification and visibility, it is worth emphasizing that the E-Ducato fleet bears the distinctive livery of the model, combined with that of the international partners who took part in the project, including Arcese, GLS, Lyreco, Mercitalia, EDF, Fraikin, CSB, Nippon Express and BT Fleet, and last but not least DHL: all leading companies in the market and devoted to innovation, which have shown that they want to combine the commercial side of their business with respect for the environment.
HK: Indeed, I understand, customers and manufacturers are working together towards eco-sustainable mobility…
AC: Absolutely. Respective expectations have the same target: to give a consistent contribution in achieving truly eco-sustainable mobility from the beginning, throughout the value chain, and this new mobility is now the result of two companies sharing a single major strategic goal. OEMs cannot any longer sell just vehicles; they have to sell a full mobility solution in a world that is constantly evolving and where customers need easy solutions to continue their daily mission. LCV customers make a purchase choice based on tangible elements: payload, volume, range; here there is no room for emotion like for passenger cars; our customers have a clear idea about what they want and need, they are very demanding, the vehicle is the business for them. With E-Ducato we are proud to state that we “emotionally sell product contents”.
HK: The car industry is now on the threshold of major eco-conscious changes… with its customers changing too…
AC: The entry of Electric Mobility happens not only in the Automotive market per se, but especially also in the culture and education of the people, which is leading to an epochal change that will impact heavily on the customer’s commercial approach, making her/his choice a «choice of full Mobility»: the customer is a pro-active stakeholder of this process of a new behavior and approach to Mobility.
For the car industry this means not only making the switch from thermal to electric, but also and above all fostering the evolution from the simple sale of a vehicle to the sale of a complete sustainable mobility service, in which the customer’s knowledge and needs become essential elements of the sale itself. Once again, Fiat Professional becomes the protagonist of a cultural change through a concrete approach to the issue of sustainability, with our “tailor-made” E-Ducato.
HK: What were your personal experiences, findings and satisfactions in setting up and bringing to a good end this complex project, amid Corona times? Do you have a message here – as a woman with a career– to our readers?
Well, good question Hans! If you ask me to summarize all my experiences with only one adjective, I would tell you “complicated”, but let me add a second one: “satisfying”. However, as satisfying as all complicated and challenging tasks are, it was not a “promenade”, notwithstanding my 35 years of experience in the Automotive Sector and having clear idea how the “machine” runs.
The Corona virus played its part too in complicating easy things like meeting the customers, feed commercial relations, being on the field, have internal meetings with the team and speed up developments. In one stroke, all these tools were taken away by the Corona pandemic, and we had to cope with delays and only virtual experiences at all levels. But I would mention Einstein here, “in the middle of every difficulty lies an opportunity”, and the Corona virus gave us the opportunity to deal with in a new – and unpredictable – scenario, in finding new ways to establish the collaboration in each part of the long chain of automotive processes, where everybody gave her/his strong contribution to deliver the project.
To those people, my colleagues, go my special thanks for having supported me for each time I asked for something that was “never done before”. Whether you are a man or a woman, if you commit yourself first and you strongly believe in what you are asking for, the results come in.
HK: In more general terms, do you think that the Corona Pandemic has affected the position of women in the working place? What challenges in your opinion lie ahead for them?
AC: Well… a question which is not so easy to answer. Once more, statistical data show us that most of the women have lost their job. We can state generally that women belong indeed still to a weak professional category: they are always the first to pay any change.
I can consider my self – as all women in multinational companies- as a privileged person, since I had immediately the chance to continue my daily job. To avoid any disruption, the Company had made work from home immediately available to all its staff, but of course, everything became virtual. I did not lose my job, but I had to change the way of doing it.
HK: Did your function in the Company pose specific personal challenges for you?
AC: I’m a Senior Marketing Manager, I’m responsible of the E-Ducato Pilot Project: this job is based on relationships, both within the company as well as externally.
This meant that, at the outbreak of the pandemic, we all had to rely on and capitalize as much as we could on the network we had build up so far. I can say that without a deep knowledge of the organization at all levels, If I would not have already known the thousands of people that work here and what they do, if I would not have built personal relations in the past, I would never have been able to deliver the Pilot Project as it is today.
Along with the network I built up, my professional experience also played an important role in this pandemic situation.
I think it must have been very difficult for young people who had just entered the organization prior to the pandemic. I keep asking myself, how have they worked from their homes without knowing the processes, the people, the organization flows, the fundamentals when you have to deal with an enormous organization? How could they develop that special feeling of “belonging to” the company if they could not experience it hands on and feel it on their skins?
HK: And to return to our first question, what were the extra challenges for women in general with this pandemic?
If you ask me about the challenge… well the challenge was just even bigger now with the pandemic, if you consider a full working day for a woman.
From a personal point of view, I think we have to see both sides of the so-called “remote working opportunity”: what it appears to be and the everyday reality. At first sight it seems that from home you can better manage and organize your daily workload, which – apparently –, leaves you more room to organize your life. But the truth is quite another matter.
The reality is that from home, as women, we tripled our daily tasks and got more and more efficient being at same time managers, mothers, housekeepers with no time limits!
We, like our children who paid the most expensive cost of this pandemic, lost the human contact, everything is done behind the screen, everything is happening inside your house, and most of times you don’t perceive that it’s time to switch off the PC.
HK: The pandemic has affected us all…
The pandemic has affected us as human beings. We are not born to become home robots. As a woman, I want to go back to work, I need to put on a nice dress, have make-up, wear shoes and go out, before we all forget what is so fundamental for a human being: the interaction among us, the fact that we need to see each other into the eyes, to talk face to face, directly, to shake hands, to re-establish relationships. Human relationships: this makes us live.
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.
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.
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.
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…
The holiday tale of our cars continues with our faithful A Class, which is showing its solidity and utter reliability. The battery did not quite survive its lengthy sleep, and we had to replace it with a new “Point S” 70 h battery, setting us back some 100 Euros. We decided for the future to take it back home, as we did with the Suzuki and Beetle, and keep it charged regularly. We should of course have done this in the first place!
Hans Knol ten Bensel
But that’s about all we had to do with the still cute and contemporary looking A Class. It fired up without problems and runs quite smoothly, and proved with its 102 hp 1,6 litre four-cylinder petrol engine to be quite zesty and amusing to drive. Acceleration from 0 to 100 is around 11,8 seconds with the auto box and top speed is 180 km/h, so no problem to keep up with today’s traffic…
The engine is admirably supported by a five speed automatic, which is a pleasure to use in the mountainous and hilly areas of the French Midi and Massif Central. For the photo session of our faithful mount we took it on a scenic ride from the charming village Ailhon via a small Départementale 359 to another gem of a village, Fons. From there on to the neighbourhood of Chapelle s/s-Aubenas, leaving it on our left side and continuing in the direction of Chassiers, on the D 103, to the villages of Rocher and Prunet via the D5, through and alongside dense woods, running in the valley of the Ligne river. From there on, the D5 treated us to some breathtaking views to be enjoyed on the Col de la Croix de Millet, at an altitude of 776 meter. On the panorama, we even caught a glimpse of the Mont Ventoux!
With a “classic” electro/hydraulic operated Daimler Benz automatic, your driving style is of course of paramount importance. But when driving with some restraint, the gearbox takes economy well into account. When left in “D” mode, the gearbox keeps revs low at smaller throttle openings, so the engine runs hardly above 2000 rpm, resulting in quite reasonable consumption figures between 6 and 7 liters/100 km.
Further photo was taken after a vigorous rain and hailstorm whilst we were driving from St. Pierreville to St. Julien-du-Gua, 11 kilometers over a very narrow D58, giving us a scenery which was worthy of a Wagnerian opera, and indeed we felt like the Flying Dutchman, only happy to find ourselves behind the wheel of a car with the good three pointed star. After this drive, we crossed the D122, and on these crossroads we photographed the car, driving at an altitude of roughly 1000 meters.
So nothing but good news of our A Class, which proves again the point that quality built cars really stand out when the years go by. To be continued!
Fancy driving the new Jeep Compass Sport without the hassle of owning it? Leasys has the answer.
With “Jeep Miles by Leasys”, Leasys meets the needs of customers who mainly use their cars in urban areas, who drive fewer kilometers or more specifically use their car only at certain times of the year, and who want to benefit from a complete driving experience, without the burden of the property management of the car.
“Jeep Miles by Leasys” will be available for you in two formulas: “light”, including BIV and road taxes, BA insurance and roadside assistance, and “plus”, including the BIV and road taxes, comprehensive insurance, roadside assistance and the ordinary and extraordinary maintenance of the vehicle.
The monthly payments for each package will include a variable part based on a cost per kilometer. The first 1,000 km are free and included in the rental price.
Both solutions are available on the new Jeep Compass Sport with manual gearbox for € 259 / month (fixed monthly rental) + a variable amount of € 0.15 / km (light package) or € 0.25 / month (plus package).