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Fiat joins the electric cargo van movement with Ducato Electric

It may never come to the US, but it's a start.

I hope this livery is offered on the production version. That way, everyone knows it's electric.

Electrifying cargo vans and other logistics vehicles is still a practice in its nascent stages. We've seen some early electric vans from various automakers, some still in concept form, but OEMs are slowly picking up the pace and shoving batteries in their larger offerings. The latest to join this group? Fiat.

Fiat on Monday unveiled the Ducato Electric. Fiat's full-size cargo van has been given a battery-electric powertrain that should keep emissions low without, hopefully, infringing too much on what a van does best -- moving stuff. This van is the real deal, carrying a 2020 model year with an intent to go on sale in Europe in 2020.

While Fiat did not say how big its batteries are, it did say that the Ducato Electric will offer multiple battery options, with NEDC-estimated ranges between 136 and 223 miles. Its electric motor has a maximum output of 121 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. The vehicle is limited to 62 miles per hour in order to "optimize energy use," the automaker said in a statement. Capacities range from 353 to 600 cubic feet, and it can handle up to 4,300 pounds of payload.

The Fiat Ducato might look familiar to you, and that's because Fiat Chrysler brought it to the US under the Ram ProMaster name. In an email, a Fiat Chrysler spokesperson said that the company has not announced any future electrification plans for the Ram ProMaster, but it's unlikely that the current form of Ducato Electric would take hold in the US like FCA hopes it will in Europe. The speed limiter would be trouble on America's large, fast highway system, and the range leaves a bit to be desired for rural and suburban users. We'll just have to wait and see if FCA's electrification strategy includes some of its US counterparts.

Electric vans unveiled thus far have ranged from fantasy to reality. On the former side, there's the VW ID Buzz Cargo, a work-friendly version of the electric microbus expected to launch in 2021. In terms of things that are real but still a little way away, Mercedes-Benz's eSprinter wrapped up its cold-weather testing earlier this year. In Germany, Ford teamed up with Deutsche Post's StreetScooter to create the Transit-based Work XL electric box van. 

Yep, it's still a regular van.

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