29 Apr 21

DHL tells Fiat how to build the all-electric e-Ducato

How do you develop an electric van that does what it's supposed to? By listening to the wishes of big customers like DHL. They are already convinced of the soundness of the new e-Ducato, which in many respects is at least as capable as the diesel model.

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Forty years after the launch of the very first Fiat Ducato, Stellantis presents the brand new, fully electric E-Ducato. It was developed independently of PSA and is therefore 100% a Fiat product. This explains why it does not share its technology with the future Peugeot e-Boxer, Opel/Vauxhall Movano-e and Citroën E-Jumper/E-Relay.

Compared to the Franco-Anglo-German trio - as well as competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter and VW eCrafter - it boasts a larger battery, providing up to 280 kilometres driving range in the mixed WLTP cycle. But Fiat Professional has many other advantages up its sleeve to make the switch to electric driving easier. Let it be clear: Fiat wants to become the market leader in the large electric van segment.

As capable as the diesel model

“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,” said Eric Laforge, Head of LCV Enlarged Europe bij Stellantis.

“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.”

The E-Ducato has been modelled 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 optimally placed under the floor, leaving intact a load capacity that ranges from 10 to 17 m³ 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.

Up to 370 km of range

The E-Ducato is also fitted out with a series of modular solutions, starting from 2 different battery packs. With the 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 the 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.

On that front, 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. In terms of SMR, Fiat expects the e-Ducato to achieve savings of up to 40% compared to the diesel model. Combined with fiscal incentives, this could mean the e-Ducato achieves TCO parity after just three to four years of operation.

Partnership with DHL

Underlying the highly competitive 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. The work was carried out at fast pace, in very close collaboration with customers representative of different types of delivery and professional mission, to identify bespoke solutions from the prototype phase onwards, not only specifically but most of all in the real world, based on the needs of individual customers.

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, highly specialized in its field, strongly oriented towards innovation and experiencing real growth, down to 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.

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."

Photo credit: Stellantis, 2021


Authored by: Dieter Quartier