Ford has kicked off real-world testing of the upcoming E-Transit lineup of electric vans and trucks, with the first examples being distributed to fleets this week. The automaker is putting 10 prototypes in the hands of several major utility, postal, and municipal fleet operators in the UK Germany and Norway, with prototypes joining the vehicles used by the city of Cologne, AWB waste disposal, DHL Express, and other businesses. This round of testing includes van versions of the E-Transit, double-cab-in-van and chassis cab versions, with a payload capacity of up to 4290 pounds for cutaway variants and 3800 pounds for the vans, and maximum cargo capacity of 487.3 cubic feet in the largest van.
The E-Transit models will feature a 67-kWh battery, giving them an estimated range of 126 miles, with electric motors good for 266 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. The motor itself will be borrowed from the Ford Mach-E, sending power to the rear axle. Quite a few versions will be offered as a part of this testing round, including dump trucks, refrigerated box trucks, vans and dropside pickups.
Ford plans to begin production of the E-Transit starting in late 2021 for the US and in the spring of 2022 in Europe, so the E-Transits with pickup bodies should actually arrive on the market sooner than the battery-electric Ford F-150 Lightning itself. The E-Transit will be built alongside gas-engined Transits in Missouri for the US market.
“We want to demonstrate that helping customers reduce their environmental impact can go hand-in-hand with improving their productivity,” said Dave Petts, market lead, urban electrified vans, Ford of Europe. “Real-world mileage in customer hands helps us to show the business benefits that E-Transit can deliver, as well as providing valuable feedback on usage patterns and charging behavior so that we can refine the operating experience. We firmly believe in treating our customers like family, and this program highlights the value we place on those close partnerships.”
Ford noted earlier this summer that it already had over 20,000 reservations for the E-Transit after opening the registration site earlier this spring, with the model set to start at $44,990.
Overall, the debut of the E-Transit will effectively be a launching point for mass-market electric cargo vans in the US, even though smaller-scale efforts have been around for years. Given the fact that an average commercial van covers just 74 miles per day, the E-Transit should offer large and small businesses alike plenty of flexibility on a daily basis, while recharging overnight at its base.
“Demand for all-electric vans is growing. Ford data shows that in the US, 70 percent of the full-size bus and van business is going all-electric by 2030 – that represents more than 300,000 vehicles annually,” the automaker noted earlier this year. “As America’s best-selling commercial van brand for 42 years, Ford intends to maintain this strong share of market into a new era of electrification.”
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