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Here Comes The New Fiat Ducato on Natural Gas

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TURIN, ITALY – March 23, 2009: The FIAT Ducato 140 Natural Power goes on sale today: a natural gas-powered vehicle, guaranteeing top performance, low consumption and – above all – minimum emissions. The following bodywork configurations are available: Panel/Vetrato Van, Chassis cab, Combined, Panorama and Minibus.

The new natural gas Ducato extends the FIAT Professional Natural Power range, currently comprising: Panda Van 1.2, Punto Van 1.2, Multipla Van 1.6, Doblò Cargo 1.6 and Doblò Cargo Maxi 1.6. An offer as extensive as this means the brand can consolidate its leadership of this market and in 2008 FIAT Professional actually registered number plates for 5,900 natural gas-fuelled commercial vehicles in Europe: a share of 57.6% (over 5,000 were sold in Italy, for a share of 72.5%). FIAT Professional seeks to reinforce this record with the debut of the new Ducato 140 Natural Power.

Natural Power Ducatos are another ace up the sleeve for FIAT Professional’s icon model, of which over two million have been produced since its launch in 1981. The underpinning to this commercial success is the van’s surprising versatility. It is a firm favourite with artisans, traders and farmers, but equally with large companies and key clients like local authorities, police services, public administrations and health boards. Coach builders also see it as the perfect base for leisure vehicles (camper vans, motor caravans and motor homes), for carrying people (minibuses, school buses, ambulances, vehicles for the persons with reduced mobility) and goods (tip-ups, insulated, armoured, mobile stores).

The Ducato 140 Natural Power natural gas model fits a 3-litre engine, developing EC maximum 136 HP (100 kW), with 2,750-3,500 rpm, and maximum torque of 350 Nm at 1,500 rpm. With this kind of power the Maxi Van - Medium Wheelbase - High Roof configuration hits a top speed of 155km/h, with acceleration of 0-100 km/h in 13.9 seconds, and pick-up of 60-100 km/h (in fifth gear) in 10.1 seconds. It is also able to negotiate a 21.5% gradient when fully loaded. What is more, the new vehicle boasts reduced fuel consumption (8.8 kg of natural gas per 100 km in the combined cycle) and lower CO2 emissions (239 g/km).

The engine was developed and produced by FPT – FIAT Powertrain Technologies, which targeted a natural gas engineering solution right from the start, adopting numerous specific components to ensure total reliability and efficiency, as well as the promise of performance on a par with that of a diesel engine.

The vehicle is configured to default to natural gas. Petrol supply is provided automatically only when the natural gas is about to run out: the petrol tank holds 15 litres in recovery mode to assure 100 km driving distance to reach the nearest natural gas station.

The gas tanks are installed under the flooring and this leaves the entire storage area free. The fuel system comprises five tanks for an overall capacity of 220 litres (weighing 36 kg) for a400 km range. The natural gas is stored at a nominal 200 bars, at 15°C, and flows as far as the pressure reducer/regulator which supplies four low-pressure (about 7 bars) injectors. These are fitted to the cylinder head and activated by the related electronic control system. If the natural gas runs out, the electronic control system automatically manages the transition to petrol supply.

The Benefits of A New Natural Gas Commercial Vehicle
The new Ducato 140 Natural Power stands as the endorsement of the FIAT Group’s ongoing focus on environmental themes through research and development of tangible solutions available now and available to everyone. FIAT Group Automobiles is world leader in natural gas-powered automotive and commercial vehicles and is fully convinced that natural gas fuel is today’s most appropriate technological option for contributing to the solution of pollution issues in urban areas, since methane is currently not only the cleanest fuel on offer but guarantees significant economic advantages. Unlike diesel vehicles, those with natural gas engines do not discharge particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions are less than 90%. When compared to petrol, natural gas engines guarantee a 50% decrease in nitrogen oxide emission and almost 25% less CO2, contributing to reducing the greenhouse effect. Thanks to these features, the FIAT Ducato 140 Natural Power can circulate in all urban areas subject to traffic limitations and can be safely parked in any garage.