Internal combustion is so two-thousand-late.
Last week, Fiat Professional - the commercial vehicle division of the Italian Fiat brand - revealed its first-ever pure-electric cargo van: the Fiat E-Ducato. The production version comes one year after the E-Ducato prototype was first shown, and in the time between, Fiat Professional has been keeping busy by analyzing data from more than 28,000 internal-combustion-powered commercial vehicles to gain deeper insight into client usage, dynamics, load, and environmental impact.
All that data helped inform development of the production E-Ducato, and while that vehicle almost certainly won't be offered in the US, it could lay the foundation for a similar offering from FCA's American Ram brand.
Together, those 28,000 internal-combustion commercial vehicles gave the Fiat team some 31 million miles' worth of data to use in fine-tuning the E-Ducato to meet customers' needs. The resulting battery-electric cargo van comes in a range of different sizes, with available best-in-class load volume of up to 600 cubic feet, and available best-in-class payload up to 4,300 lbs. Output peaks at 121 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, with battery pack options delivering from 137 to 224 miles of range on a full charge.
Note that those range ratings were validated using Europe's antiquated NEDC testing cycle, which tends to yield optimistic numbers. The actual range will likely be closer to 100 to 160 miles.
There are two very important reasons why FCA might decide to bring the vehicle stateside as a new off-shoot of the Ram ProMaster model line: the Ford Transit Electric, and GM's rumored BV1. Both pure-electric delivery vans are expected to hit the market sometime in 2022.
In theory, electric vehicles like the Fiat E-Ducato could deliver a host of benefits to enterprise customers, from lower refueling costs to simpler powertrains with fewer moving parts, and thus, less maintenance downtime and reduced repair costs. We recently learned that even Tesla might be working on an electric van, as the EV manufacturer collaborates with another Elon Musk business venture, The Boring Company, to develop a high-density passenger transport for use in high-speed transit tunnels.