Fiat E-Ducato in the test: electric transporter on laurel rest

The Fiat E-Ducato drives at a maximum of 100 km/h, charges with a maximum of 50 kW (DC) and costs at least 56,000 euros net as a panel van. The good thing about this vehicle: It’s just a Ducato, nothing has changed. Not much has actually changed, but more on that in a moment. The 90 kW electric motor and peripherals have plenty of space under the bonnet, the modular battery hangs under the floor so that the usable volume remains the same as with the diesel drive. Fiat offers 47 or 79 kWh battery capacity, built up in 3 or 5 modules. Fiat advertises the modularity with redundancy, but it causes more problems in everyday life than it can ever compensate for in the unlikely event that “a battery module fails”. We tested the variant with 47 kWh.

Let’s not beat around the bush: Unfortunately, the E-Ducato is not particularly successful. It works at a level that test vehicles surpassed 15 years ago. The SoC percentage reading jumps around, a very irritating behavior, and one that would be entirely unnecessary. Every vehicle manufacturer other than Zero Motorcycles has been doing it better for over 10 years. The SoC display is not even wrong, on average it is correct and it shows the voltage conditions of the battery locally. But a precisely timed fuel gauge also shows every slosh, every uneven road, and therefore the fuel and battery gauges are dampened algorithmically – a comparatively simple task.

The SoC thing doesn’t seem to work well when charging either, because every time it is plugged in, the E-Ducato initially transmits an incorrect value and later one, I don’t want to say: correct, but at least one that is also in the cabin display. The DC charging power repeatedly drops to zero and then rises to a maximum of 41 kW because the E-Ducato somehow juggles the battery modules electrically. Example of how irritating the system can be: fully charged, parked on Friday with 98 percent SoC, started on Monday, after 3 km look at the additional screen: 69 percent SoC. How should inexperienced drivers deal with such a system? The range indicator is correspondingly useless. With 50 percent I got 68 km far. This corresponds to a consumption of 34.6 kWh/100 km. I probably won’t be able to drive another 150 km with the remaining 50 percent, Fiat.

The tester came in the variant of a van (L4H2).

(Image: Clemens Gleich)

When the end of charge voltage is reached, the E-Ducato reports that it is ready at the charging station. This means that you will no longer be able to obtain any service (air conditioning), but it does mean that you will not pay a blocking fee, even though the car is still blocking the parking space and cable (yes, the cable lock remains closed). That’s still almost practical, especially considering the sluggish charging performances, but if you come back to the charging station from the loo and unlock the lock, the Ducato will also stop charging, and if you dare to switch on the ignition while charging for air conditioning , same thing happens. All in all, the E-Ducato is not suitable for charging on the go and therefore not for recharging tours. Forget the 2500 euro DC socket. Forget all fantasies of the Ducato electric camper. It will not work like that.

The displays of the electric drive are on a separate screen, which the retrofitter bolts to a RAM mount on the A-pillar. It wasn’t enough for a module on the infotainment device like the competition. Clever integration could have saved money and space, for example for a logistics screen that is often installed in fleet operations.

When driving, the hard transition is noticeable when the electric brake goes out. Thankfully, there’s an electric brake-to-stop mode (takes some power at the very bottom) that works well, but isn’t available when the battery is full. In the “normal” drive mode, the 90 kW power is sufficient, but the Ducato only drives at 90 km/h, and the normal mode is always on when starting. There is a “Power” mode in which the motor pushes harder and the car drives up to 100 km/h.

You have to reset it every time you start it, which makes a mockery of Fiat’s argument that it’s useful for driving with a load. Should I set “Power” again after every stop? In the interior, the problem is solved in such a way that the speedometer simply shows 10 km/h too high, so that “normal” suddenly seems like the legal speed on the country road. All in all, the e-converter doesn’t cover itself in glory, and the only real question is why Fiat doesn’t use the PSA drive available in the Stellantis group, which can do everything better than this.

So that I’m not accused of prejudice: I developed a good relationship with the Ducato over many kilometers. would i buy But this does not apply to the E variant.
(Image: Clemens Gleich)

The conventionally powered Ducato is selling due to network effects and economy. With the electric Ducato, this is completely eliminated. Despite being useless, DC charging costs 2500 euros and has a maximum output of 50 kW, of which I have never seen more than 41. The larger battery with 79 kWh is only available together with the 1500 euro 11 kW AC charger for a total of 18,100 euros. Incidentally, these are all net values ​​if private car customers should read along here, who would then have to add 19 percent VAT (think of the camper conversions mentioned, for example). By default, the Ducato charges single-phase with a maximum of 7.4 kW. 22 kW AC is not yet in the configurator, but has been announced.

Like all e-vans, the e-Ducato is quite expensive: with a large battery, the Ducato panel van (L4H2) shown costs 75,200 euros net and 89,488 euros gross – without any standard Ducato surcharge accessories. The standard diesel with 103 kW costs 37,040 euros net. It would be a long time before he used up his additional energy costs, because the E-Ducato should only cost 40 percent less to maintain. After all, the E-Ducato remained reasonably economical at VMax 90 km/h with 33.9 kWh/100 km gross (including charging losses) in over-the-village delivery mode with light volume charging (comparable: parcel service).

Actually, we had expected that Fiat Professional (the commercial vehicle division) would do better with the first e-transporter given their enormous experience, that there would be a sovereign project. Instead, this offer, which acts like a deterrent. It reminds me of scooter market leader Piaggio’s Vespa Eletricca, which delivers the least value in the electric scooter market at the highest price. There is actually only one reason to buy the E-Ducato, namely when Fiat Professional makes offers to volume customers that they can hardly refuse given the network effects of the Ducato platform combined with a corresponding friendly price. As a fleet manager, however, I would make sure that the distance to the next cheaper offer sufficiently compensates for the prototypical nature of the drive. Ford’s E-Transit looks more convincing.


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