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In a major boost for the town, Luton will begin production of new electric models next year for the entire range of Stellantis medium vans sold in the UK.

The plant will mostly be producing right-hand-drive versions of the Stellantis range of vans that include the Vauxhall Vivaro Electric, Peugeot E-Expert, Citroën ë-Dispatch and Fiat Professional E-Scudo. However, the site will also be used to produce some left-hand-drive versions of the same models for export as well as the Opel Vivaro Electric.

Production will begin in the first half of 2025 in limited numbers, and the electric vans will be produced alongside their internal combustion engine counterparts.

Luton joins Ellesmere Port as the second electric model manufacturing site for Stellantis vans in the UK.

Ellesmere Port was announced as the manufacturing site for all versions of the Citroen e-Berlingo, Peugeot e-Partner, Fiat e-Doblo and Vauxhall Combo Electric in September last year, following a £100m investment to transform the plant for EV production. It is also became the first Stellantis plant globally to be dedicated to electric vehicle manufacturing.

Stellantis is currently the best-selling van manufacturer in Europe with a 30.4% market share in 2023. Their electric vehicles also have a 38.8% of the European market, while in the UK that figure rises to 47.9%. Vauxhall was the best-selling electric van manufacturer with 6,402 sales out of Stellantis' total UK sales of 10,272 vans. The majority of Vauxhall's electric van sales were for the Vivaro Electric as the number one electric van in the UK.

Vauxhall's Luton plant began life in 1905 and have been producing the Vivaro van since 2001. When Stellantis acquired Vauxhall and production was switched over from producing Renault-based vans to the Peugeot-Citroen model, the plant also took on group production of medium-sized vans, adding the Fiat Scudo in 2022.

Mark Noble, Luton Plant Director & Stellantis UK Manufacturing Lead, said: “Following the transformation of our Ellesmere Port facility to produce all-electric compact vans, I’m pleased to announce that we will commence limited production of our medium electric van in Luton from next year, when the first customer vehicles will roll off the production line. This is a fitting way to mark Luton’s 120th anniversary.”

Luton produced more than 90,000 vans last year, all of which were ICE models.

The newly formed Stellantis Pro One division of manufacturers Citroen, Fiat Professional, Opel, Peugeot and Vauxhall, has revealed the complete overhaul of its compact, mid-size and large commercial vans.

In total thare are 12 vehicles new vehicles adopting a new range of electric drivelines, improved safety features, more ADAS and greater connected tech.

“This second generation of zero-emission vans, in line with customer expectations and offering increased BEV autonomy, additional fuel-cell offer, 18 ADAS, full connectivity, and innovations such as ‘electric Power Take Off’, will reinforce even further our current leadership in BEV vans and in all van segments,” said Xavier Peugeot, senior vice president, Stellantis Commercial Vehicles Business Unit.

The most notable change is to the line-up of the large vehicles that have been electrified with a new in-house built driveline. Previously, and prior to the merger of Fiat Chrysler (FCA) with Peugeot-Citroen (PSA), the Fiat e-Ducato used its own electric motors and systems, while the large Peugeot Boxer and Citroen Relay, as well as the Vauxhall Movano Electric, were adapted by a third-party. Now, all vehicles are based on the same platform with a 110kWh battery delivering a claimed range of up to 261 miles (420km) with rapid charging abilities of up to 150kW.

A second generation of compact electric vans sees their battery range increase up to 205 miles (330km) while the medium BEV vans get a range of up to 224 miles (350km).

Stellantis has also renewed its hydrogen fuel cell ambitions with a second generation of a hydrogen powerplant in the medium vans. The hydrogen fuel-cell, due to launch in Europe in mid-2024, adopts a Stellantis exclusive “mid-power” system that acts as a hydrogen hybrid range extender with a range of up to 249 miles (400km) in the medium vans and the introduction of a similar system in the large vans with a range up to 311 miles (500km).

In addition to the new Citroen vans, new Peugeot van models, revamped Vauxhall vans and refreshed Fiat Professional vans, there’s also a new 400V e-Power Take Off (ePTO).

The ePTO will help to enable bodybuilders to apply the same solutions they have become accustomed to on diesel (ICE) vehicles to the new electric models. The need for secondary power supplies will not be necessary as accessories including tail lifts can be powered from the traction battery. This will improve the vehicle’s payload and give drivers a better view of the vehicle’s power management.

Stellantis has announced the creation of a new commercial vehicle business unit called Pro One that will combine the offerings of Citroën, Fiat, Opel, Peugeot and Vauxhall as well as Ram in North America.

Pro One will see the development of vans, pickup trucks and micro-mobility options as the company heads towards electrification and zero emission products. Along with zero tailpipe emission commercial vehicles, the unit will focus on connected converter ecosystems, connected vehicle technologies and the business partnership offering it presents to its customers in order to their business efficiency, lower their costs and increase profitability.

The outputs of Pro One currently account for one-third of Stellantis Net revenues with 1.6m unit sales per annum. Pro One plans hope to double the commercial vehicle revenues to €90bn by 2030, compared to 2021. By which time they expect to have a 40% electric vehicle sales mix and to be generating €5bn in service revenues.

“We are launching Pro One to leverage our undeniable commercial vehicles leadership with the concept – six brands, one force – as this business accounts for one-third of Stellantis Net revenues,” said Jean-Philippe Imparato, head of the Stellantis Commercial Vehicles Business Unit.

“As customer expectations grow more complex and diverse, we are here to address each specific need with a dedicated solution. Our mission is to stand side by side with our customers around the world and deliver the products and services that help them thrive,” Imparato added.

The Pro One strategy is also includes a pilot project for the retrofitting of internal combustion engine vans (ICE) to electric vehicles. The retrofit program with Qinomic, announced in December 2022, aims to extend the life span of ICE vans with an affordable electric conversion.

New models announced

The launch of Pro One coincides with a complete overhaul of the light commercial vehicles in each of the brand’s portfolios. In the UK, Citroën, Fiat, Peugeot and Vauxhall will all get brand new versions of the small, medium and large vans with a brand new electric platform for the large vans that include the Citroen e-Relay, Fiat e-Ducato, Peugeot e-Boxer and Vauxhall Movano Electric.

The range will be boosted by the arrival of a new e-Power Take Off (ePTO) for use with conversions. The ePTO will enable accessories like tail lifts and refrigeration units to be powered directly from the traction battery. This removes the need for additional batteries and makes the power management of the entire vehicle more efficient and predictable. Stellantis also says it will have 100% of its new vans and pickups connected by the end of 2023, and will begin providing over-the-air updates from 2026 onward.

What does Stellantis Pro One hope to achieve?

Fiat has unveiled the Fiat Topolino based on the Citroen Ami and Citroen Ami Cargo.

The Topolino is an all-electric quadricycle that aims to enhance urban electric mobility while embodying the spirit of its namesake and iconic Fiat 500.

Designed to bring a fresh sense of la dolce vita to city streets, the Topolino caters to a wide range of customers, including younger drivers, families, and urban enthusiasts. Fiat's objective is to offer accessible and sustainable mobility solutions for everyone.

The chosen name, Topolino, holds a significant historical value and immediately evokes memories of the first Fiat 500.

The original Topolino, produced by Fiat between 1936 and 1955, revolutionised the automotive industry and became an icon in its own right.

Unlike the Citroen Ami, there are no plans for the Fiat Topolino to be made available in right hand drive. There are also no indications that there will be a commercial vehicle version of the electric van. Originally launched as a Citroen product, the Ami is available as the Citroen Ami Cargo, a compact van with a miniature payload and load volume.

The Citroen Ami Cargo has 400-litres of storage the equivalent of 0.4 cubic metres. It also gets a payload of 140kg. That's because it uses the allowance you’d have for a passenger.

The Fiat Topolino will only be available as a passenger version, with just two seats. The car has a roll top roof and rope doors. It is very similar in design to the limited edition Citroen Ami Buggy. The retractable roof is made in brown cloth, but there's also cream leather upholstery.

Just like the Citroen Ami, the Topolino is limited to a top speed of 28mph and has a range of 46 miles.

Fiat aims to have an all-electric line-up by 2027. It has already launched electric commercial vehicle versions of the Fiat E-Doblo, Fiat E-Scudo and Fiat E-Ducato.

The Fiat Ducato has been revealed as the safest van in the latest Euro NCAP tests for commercial vans in 2023.

The Ducato takes the title as the best van for safety for the second year running, scoring a total of 63%.

In the Commercial Van Ratings announced today, the Ford Transit and the Fiat Ducato both achieved a Gold rating. The Mercedes-Benz Vito, however, has dropped from Gold to a Silver rating. Also rated as silver is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Volkswagen Transporter, the Renault Trafic, Nissan Primastar and Volkswagen Crafter.

Vans with a Euro NCAP Bronze Rating for 2023 include the Citroën Dispatch, Citroën Relay, Iveco Daily, Vauxhall Vivaro, Vauxhall Movano, Peugeot Expert, Peugeot Boxer, Renault Master and Toyota Proace.

Last year the Fiat Ducato was the safest van tested in 2022 but since then there have been other notable success stories, most recently with the Volkswagen Amarok and the Volkswagen ID Buzz getting 5 Star Euro NCAP ratings. The lowest scoring van in 2022 was the Nissan Interstar with a score of just 18%.

Euro NCAP ratings for 2023 have been tightened with stricter criteria. The results for eighteen vans show a drop in overall ratings compared to last years ratings, but the same vans lead the pack for safety. The Fiat Ducato was the only Platinum rated van last year and despite once again topping the list it has been dropped to a Gold rating under this year’s tougher protocol. Its 88% rating in 2022 has been downgraded to 63% in 2023.

The Nissan Interstar continues to be rated Not Recommended based on its lack of crash avoidance systems.

Under Euro NCAP’s plans, by 2026 vans will be expected to have the same ADAS requirements as passenger cars, and the van rating will from then on only consider standard fitment across all European markets.

Euro NCAP will soon advance safety solutions in the fleet market with the introduction of a rating scheme for heavy goods vehicles. Safety systems in HGVs are considerably more advanced than light commercial vehicles, and many manufacturers have been leading the way for autonomous vehicle testing which requires ADAS equipment.

Euro NCAP’s new criteria for Commercial Van Ratings takes ADAS to a higher level with greater emphasis on vulnerable road users including pedestrian safety, with focus on night-time scenarios, and cyclists as well as the introduction of one new van-to-car crash scenario.

Other vans due to be crash tested soon by Euro NCAP include the Ford Transit Custom and the LEVC VN5.

What is the safest van?

Officially, according to the Euro NCAP Commercial Van ratings the safest van on sale in the UK is the Fiat Ducato. It gained a gold rating with an overall score of 63%. The Ford Transit was the only other vehicle to get a gold rating with a 60% rating.

What is the least safe van tested by Euro NCAP?

According to the round of Euro NCAP tests conducted in 2023 the least safe van on sale is the Nissan Interstar with a rating of 18%.

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Watch the Fiat Ducato undergo tests for the Euro NCAP commercial van safety tests 2023

The Fiat Ducato has been named as the top rated van in the latest round of Euro NCAP van safety ratings.

Based on an evaluation of crash avoidance systems and their performance, the Ducato was the clear winner achieving a platinum rating.

Euro NCAP drew attention to the poor level safety equipment in commercial vans last year where the Ducato received a Bronze rating. As the workhorse of choice for couriers and small businesses, vans spend a lot of time on the road where, because of their size and mass, they represent a larger hazard to smaller vehicles and vulnerable road users if involved in a collision.

New legislation will force van manufacturers to fit basic avoidance systems, already widely available on passenger cars, in a few years’ time but Euro NCAP’s commercial van ratings aim to encourage manufacturers to fit more advanced systems more quickly.

What are the Euro NCAP van safety ratings?

Euro NCAP revisited 19 of the best-selling vans in Europe with only one van assessed being rated as ‘Not Recommended’. This compares to five vans last year.

The Vauxhall Movano is now built on a new Stellantis platform and gets a bronze medal alongside the Renault Master. This was achieved thanks to small but notable improvements to its speed and lane assistance systems. Its twin, the Nissan Interstar (previously the Nissan NV400), also gets these improvements but lacks an Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system so is in the Not Recommended category.

The Ducato’s upgrade is thanks to a major safety make-over and now features an advanced sensor set, offering AEB pedestrian and AEB cyclist, and excels in these tests.

The Ducato’s 88% overall score sees it leapfrog the competition to become the first platinum-rated van but the other Stellantis vehicles which the Ducato shares its platform with – Peugeot Boxer, Citroën Relay and Vauxhall Movano – are rated lower. They don’t have the same equipment levels and are therefore only ranked as gold.

Euro NCAP tests vans with safety equipment which is standard or optional, so the assessments represent the best that can be expected of each vehicle. In terms of fitment, little has changed in the last twelve months and safety equipment is still offered mainly as an option.

See the updated Euro NCAP van safety ratings for the safest vans and worst vans in 2023.

2022-Commercial-Van-Ratings-TableDownload
Fiat Ducato
Ford Transit
Volkswagen Transporter
Ford Transit Custom
Mercedes-Benz Vito
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Nissan Primastar
Renault Trafic
Peugeot Expert
Volkswagen Crafter
Vauxhall Vivaro
Iveco Daily
Citroën Dispatch
Toyota Proace
Vauxhall Movano
Peugeot Boxer
Citroën Relay
Renault Master
Nissan Interstar
88%
68%
65%
63%
61%
52%
45%
45%
44%
44%
42%
41%
37%
37%
33%
33%
32%
29%
18%

Orders for the new Fiat Ducato are officially open in the UK, with the large van getting a full overhaul of its safety systems and technology as well as more minor tweaks to the engines and its appearance.

The main change to the new model is a new Full Digital Cockpit, upgrading the Ducato’s traditional dials with a customisable interface to allow you to easily check on anything from navigation instructions to driver assistance systems.

It also provides a link to the Uconnect infotainment system which is the centrepiece of the new van with its 10-inch screen the main attraction in the dashboard. Not only does the screen give you a view of the TomTom sat nav system, it also enables to you connect wirelessly to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. A smaller 7-inch screen is also available that also allows Apple and Android connections, while the smallest 5-inch screen provides digital radio and Bluetooth connections.

Read our Fiat Ducato review

Safety upgrades mean that the new Fiat Ducato is capable of Level 2 autonomous driving with a range of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for driving on the road and to help with parking. New safety features including speed limiters, advanced braking, road sign recognition and adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go. There’s also Lane Keeping Assist and a new Traffic Jam Assist feature (which we’ll tell you more about in the Fiat Ducato review).

Other assistance systems include Crosswind Assist, trailer stability control and active park assist for semi-autonomous parking, either in bays on or the street. A Digital Central Mirror is your window to the outside world at the rear of the van, replacing the standard (and usually redundant) mirror with a clear digital image.

The inside has been upgrades with a new dash design, steering wheel and gear lever. There’s also a change to the door panels and the air conditioning controls. There’s a new Eat-and-Work passenger seat, which is marking speak for a table on the back of the middle chair, a wireless mobile phone charging compartment and double USB-A and USB-C ports. The seats get new padding and Fiat has said it has improved the space around them and their comfort.

Fiat Ducato interior

New electric power steering should improve the way the van drives, and Euro 6D-Final engines based on the Multijet 3 engine improve C02 emissions by 7%.

The Ducato celebrates its 40th year in production in 2021, having been launched in 1981 and enjoyed considerable success across Europe in that time. It regularly featured as Europe’s best-selling commercial vehicle.

The latest model has been revamped with a new rendition of the Fiat badge, as well as minor changes to the front, most notably in the deisng of the new full-LED lights.

Fiat will make the new Ducato available in three trim levels, Tecnico, Tecnico Plus and Business Edition with addition option packs for further customisation.

Prices will start from £27,005 with deliveries in the latter part of the year.

For more on the size of the Fiat Ducato dimensions read our guide

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