Ford introduced its first electric utility, named E-Transit. Designed to meet a large demand from companies wishing to electrify their range, the van will be at the center of the brand’s electrification strategy in the professional market. While the design is not revolutionary, there are many features and technologies that make it a vehicle aimed at satisfying as many customers as possible.
The first need was obviously to respond to a concern that surrounds electric vehicles, and which will be central in the case of companies depending on journeys and deliveries or collections: autonomy. Ford has installed a 67 kWh battery in its utility vehicle, boasting a capacity 30% higher than the average of its rivals, and announces a range of 350 kilometers in the combined WLTP cycle. On the engine side, we find a block of 198 kW and 430 Nm.
Up to 350 km of autonomy
To design a van adapted to the needs of the greatest number, the company collected a lot of data from companies, and drew on telematics readings to best gauge the needs of its customers. This enabled him to revolve the design of the E-Transit around this collection of information.
When it comes to recharging, the manufacturer’s offer is quite versatile. The 11.3 kW on-board charger allows a full recharge in about 8 hours, or the equivalent of a night. The manufacturer has signed an agreement with the Ionity network for rapid charging. Tolerating up to 115 kW of power, the E-Transit then goes from 15% to 80% of range in approximately half an hour. Finally, Ford is making the FordPass network available, in partnership with NewMotion, to provide access to 160,000 terminals in Europe.
In addition to its autonomy, the E-Transit has been designed to meet the needs of all craftsmen and professionals, and that is why it is available in 25 variants. There are three lengths and two different heights to choose from, but Ford especially prides itself on maintaining a cargo volume similar to its diesel counterpart, by installing the batteries under the floor.
In fact, the electric van will offer between 9 and 15 m3 of volume, with a payload ranging from 1,616 to 1,967 kilos. In contrast, there is no cargo space up front, as all of the powertrain and battery optimization technologies are located under the hood. It offers the same access and loading points as the diesel version, and the same architecture so that the brand’s customers can directly install their specific fittings for the Transit with thermal engine.
To ensure the robustness and longevity of its zero-emission utility vehicle, Ford has developed an independent rear suspension that can withstand heavy loads, while reinforcing the chassis to meet the same specifications. The rear wheels are driving, and Ford is not planning a four-wheel drive version since the rear-wheel drive configuration is considered sufficient by the developers.
The E-Transit offers three driving modes named Eco, Normal and Slippery. The former reduces energy consumption by 8-10%, while the latter was developed to enhance the safety of Ford customers. The brand also insists on safety since the E-Transit is equipped with recognition of traffic signs, 360-degree cameras, and reverse break assist, which allows emergency braking even in reverse, during low speed maneuvers.
The manufacturer reveals that it has subjected its utility to a series of tests as severe as the other utilities of the same name, so that it “Deserves to wear the Transit badge”. In fact, the prototypes have undergone tests on more or less well maintained roads, in all conditions, road or weather. Those 240,000 kilometers of testing allowed Ford to ensure that the E-Transit offered the same capabilities, summer and winter, and in all regions.
A “workshop on wheels”
Capabilities that have been the center of attention, since E-Transit is designed to be a rolling workshop. Ford has developed a system called Pro Power Onboard, which is an integrated generator offering up to 2.3 kW to power tools or equipment. Sufficient for various tools or even an on-board refrigeration system, it does not compromise the range of the vehicle, as long as a fuel or time limit can be set by the driver via the central display.
The 12-inch central display is also equipped with a brand new version of its software, called Sync 4, which is deployed for the first time in the utility oval blue. In addition to an improved voice recognition system, the system includes a search assistant for charging stations, with the possibility of knowing their status in real time. Thanks to the integrated modem, the FordPass Connect system also allows downloadable enhancements to interface and connectivity.
What is described as a “digital tool ecosystem” by Ford also includes a telematics tool to remotely monitor battery status, vehicle operation, and compile fuel consumption data for fleet managers. Through a system called Ford Data Service, it is possible to retrieve the collected data and transfer it to another telematics monitoring tool, for companies already using one.
Launch in 2022
The Ford E-Transit will be built in Turkey, on the same production lines as the Transit PHEV, and will hit the European market in spring 2022. The E-Transit will come with a one-year maintenance service. High voltage equipment, in particular the battery, will be guaranteed for 8 years or 160,000 km. While pricing is yet to be revealed, Ford says it will be competitive with the rest of the market.