A Fiat Ducato Natural Power is the Italian auto manufacturer’s six millionth vehicle to roll off the production line at the Val di Sangro industrial site – a magnificent milestone of itself but one made more special by being a vehicle powered by Compressed Natural Gas. Fiat Professional has the widest range of natural gas vehicles on the market. In fact, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) has been European leader for over 20 years in this minimal environmental impact technology, with more than 754,000 cars and commercial vehicles registered.
The Ducato record reinforces the historic bond between the best-selling Fiat Professional model and Europe’s biggest light commercial vehicle production plant. The Ducato Natural Power van, a medium wheelbase with high roof, aluminium grey livery and equipped with the low environmental impact F1 CNG Natural Power engine running on natural gas, delivers power of 136 HP and peak torque of 350 Nm. It is capable of performance similar in all respects to that of a diesel engine and with a range, on natural gas, of 400 km (500 km with both fuels).
Purchased by an Italian customer as a people carrier, the record-breaking emission-standard Euro VI vehicle reflects not only the solid bond between the best-selling Fiat Professional model and the plant at Sevel di Atessa, in Val di Sangro, Europe’s largest light commercial vehicle factory, but also FCA’s undisputed leadership in the sale of petrol/natural gas bi-fuel vehicles.
The Fiat Professional range comprises Natural Power four models: Fiorino, Doblò Cargo, Ducato Van, Minibus or Panorama and Panda Van.
With such a complete range, the Ducato Natural Power is the ideal solution for any professional solutions, its versatility proved by its Van (available in 3 lengths, 3 heights and Maxi version) and Chassis Cab (3 lengths and Maxi version) configurations. It has a top speed of up to 160 km/h and is very sparing on fuel (8.6 kg/100 km of natural gas). What’s more, thanks to its absence of fine particle emissions and low pollutant emissions, depending on city-specific regulations the Ducato Natural Power is granted access to “limited traffic zones” created for environmental reasons.
Developed specifically to operate on natural gas, the engine has a large number of special components to guarantee unbeatable durability, reliability and efficiency. In particular, Ducato Natural Power is configured to operate normally on natural gas – petrol only cuts in automatically when the natural gas is running out – stored in the five cylinders with total capacity of 220 litres, equivalent to 36 kg. What’s more, the cylinders are located underneath the floor of the van, maintaining all the cargo section volume: a very important feature for a vehicle intended for professional use.
Compared to petrol, natural gas reduces CO2 emissions by 23%. Natural gas engines minimise the most harmful emissions, such as fine particles, nitrogen oxides and the most reactive hydrocarbons, which lead to the formation of other pollutants. Methane powered vehicles can circulate in various cities with “restricted traffic zones” for environmental reasons, park in underground car parks and on ferries.
The Ducato Natural Power confirms FCA’s constant attention to environmental issues through the research and development of tangible solutions for improving performance and reducing consumption, combined with ecological and economic sustainability. Moreover, OEM vehicles, that is original equipment vehicles which are assembled in the factory already with modifications to the chassis made according to dedicated technology, are subjected to crash and emission tests just like conventional vehicles and can boast the highest standards of comfort and safety.
The record-breaking plant
Ducato is made in the Sevel Plant in Atessa, Val di Sangro, Italy, the largest light commercial vehicle plant in Europe. A little over six hundred people were employed in the Sevel Plant in 1981 and seventy vehicles were made a day. Today, about 1200 vehicles in an amazing array of different configurations roll off the lines every day. The plant is one of the most flexible in the world in terms of level of specialisation, organisation and work performance.
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