CC Outtake: Ducati Energia FreeDUCk4 – Only Poste Italiane

How is your post delivered? Peugeot Partner or similarly anonymous van, a man with a bike, with an electric trolley or just walking the streets? 

On a recent trip to Perugia in central Italy, we saw a solution which was perfectly practical, contemporary, and, well, very Italian. A FreeDUCk quadricycle – a battery powered lightweight fourwheeled vehicle built by Ducati in Bologna. Technically, it is built by Ducati Energia, the company from which the better Ducati motorbike concern emerged after the WW2, and is now a separate company. Like Rolls-Royce, Volvo, Skoda and Renault, the Ducati name is now used by various separate businesses. Ducati Energia is a business principally making power control equipment, industrial capacitors and associated measuring equipment.

The FreeDUCk (and that is how the name is spelt officially) is powered by eight 12 V batteries, housed under the floor and charged from a regular 220V supply. Charging takes no more than 8 hours, so this no Tesla. Range is around 60km, depending on use, from a full charge, and the maximum speed is 45km/h.

To give a feel for the size, it is 1.75m (a little under 6ft) long and exactly a metre wide. Dry weight is around 320kg (700lbs)  and the maximum payload is 200kg (440lbs) , or in practical terms a well-fed postman and a box of parcels of the same weight. How quickly it would go up the hills of Perugia in that condition would be interesting to see.

The vehicle is built around a steel moncoque and fitted with ABS body panels, and flexible doors with a plastic sidescreen. In many respects, it is similar to a Renault Twizy, though smaller and slower.

To me, this looks like an ideal 21st Century post and delivery vehicle for a cramped European city centre, and Perugia is certainly that.

And remember, Italians get their post delivered by Ducati. That is ahead of any well used van, and just so Italian.