Ford has revealed its long-awaited electric Transit, the E-Transit, but don’t get your hopes up too high, too early — while we have first details of the battery van now, it will only begin customer fleet trials in 2021, before going on general sale in 2022.
40 per cent lower running costs
“Ford is North America and Europe’s commercial vehicle leader, so the transition of fleet vehicles to zero emissions, especially for the fast-growing last-mile delivery segment, is critical to achieve our carbon neutral goal by 2050,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president and CEO. “Ford is ready to lead the charge that started with its award-winning Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid and EcoBlue Hybrid. It’s good for the planet and a huge advantage for customers with lower operating costs and new connected technologies that will help their businesses.”
The critical number is, of course, the range and the E-Transit looks set to have a 350km WLTP one-charge range, which Ford claims is three times the average daily distance covered by a delivery van. That’s not an official figure, as yet, but with a 67kWh battery pack, the E-Transit should be up to it.
There are driving modes, of course, including an Eco Mode that limits acceleration and climate control functions so as to maximise range. There’s also cabin pre-conditioning, so that you can cool down or heat up the driver’s compartment as you charge, saving valuable battery life later on, and Ford reckons that the E-Transit has running costs for operators that are roughly 40 per cent lower than those of a conventional diesel model.
To make it easier for fleets to switch, the E-Transit will come with a one-year, unlimited mileage service offering that sits alongside the eight-year, 160,000km warranty package for the battery and high-voltage electric components.
Fast DC charging
“Our clear mission to make our customers’ businesses thrive has helped to make Ford the leading commercial vehicle brand in Europe,” said Hans Schep, general manager commercial vehicles, Ford of Europe. “Electrification brings new ways for customers to manage their businesses and fleets more efficiently. With E-Transit this is delivered with more than 55 years of Transit expertise, a network of expert dealers and converters, and an ecosystem of digital tools that will help translate the potential of electrification into a business reality – all that, and the benefits of zero-emission transportation.”
The E-Transit can be AC slow-charged or DC fast-charged and, with an 11.4kW on-board charger, it will actually charge pretty quickly from an AC point. Connect it to DC power and it will charge at up to 115kW, which will get you from 15 per cent battery top 80 per cent in 34 minutes.
There’s also a clever Pro Power Onboard system, which gives you access to a 2.3kW socket that allows you to use your E-Transit as a mobile power tool hub.
There is, of course, a plethora of tech options, including integration into the FordPass Connect smartphone app that includes telematics details for fleets, the latest SYNC4 infotainment system with a 12-inch touchscreen and safety kit that includes traffic sign detection, collision warning, blind spot monitor and more.
430Nm of torque
Because the battery is located under the body, the E-Transit comes with some impressive load space numbers — there’s as much as 15.1 cubic metres of cargo space, and a payload of 1,616kg for the van version, or 1,967kg for the chassis-cab version. Ford will offer 25 E-Transit configurations, with van, double-cab-in-van and chassis cab body styles, multiple length and roof-height options, and a range of gross vehicle mass options up to 4.25 tonnes, to support a wide variety of customer needs.
Ford claims that its heavy-duty semi-trailing arm suspension system “enables better steering precision and more confident handling,” which is just as well, because the E-Transit’s electric motor is packing 269hp and 430Nm of torque.
“More construction, emergency vehicles and utility services choose Ford commercial trucks and vans over any other manufacturer – and we’re committed to helping customers make the transition to zero-emission technology,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform operations officer. “E-Transit is a data rich, connected platform that will help our fleet customers unlock greater productivity. The value for our commercial customers grows over time as more connected vehicles join the network.”