The already announced battery electric Ford Transit van due in Europe from next year will additionally be built and sold in the US from 2022, the Blue Oval brand confirmed today.
It will join the promised electric F-150 pickup truck and the already-revealed Mustang Mach-E in Ford’s growing EV range, which will from there be expanded by additional Ford vehicles based on platforms licensed from Volkswagen (MEB) and Rivian, into which Ford invested $US500m.
“The best-selling cargo van in the world – Ford Transit – is going digital, with an all-electric version coming for the 2022 model year,” the company said in a release.
“With the world’s best-selling cargo van and as America’s best-selling commercial van brand for 41 years, Ford intends to lead the transition to zero emissions in the segment.
“As consumers focus on reducing their own carbon footprints, more and more businesses are setting ambitious sustainability goals. Cities, meanwhile, are weighing increasingly stringent rules to address CO2, air quality and noise reduction goals.”
The all-electric Ford Transit will offer various chassis options including cargo van, cutaway and cab-chassis, plus three roof heights and three body lengths. It will also offer fleet-ready connections to Ford's cloud-based services such as live map GPS tracking, geofencing and vehicle diagnostics.
Driver-assist features will include Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking plus Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning, Post-Collision Braking, Lane-Keeping System and auto high-beam headlights.
The Transit EV will be built in America as part of Ford’s much-discussed $11.5 billion investment in electrification through 2022.
It has also tested what it calls a Ford Transit Smart Energy Concept 10-seater minibus, capable of a 150km range from a four-hour charge. This would compete with the Mercedes-Benz V-Class EV, called EQV.
Ford also offers the smaller Transit Custom PHEV, which has a zero-emissions driving range of 50km, with 500km of total driving range possible through the use of Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine as a range extender.
“Commercial vehicles are a critical component to our big bet on electrification,” said Jim Farley, chief operating officer, Ford Motor Company.
“As leaders in this space, we are accelerating our plans to create solutions that help businesses run better, starting with our all-electric Transit and F-150. This Ford Transit isn’t just about creating an electric drivetrain, it’s about designing and developing a digital product that propels fleets forward.”
“The world is heading toward electrified products and fleet customers are asking for them now. We know their vehicles operate as a connected mobile business and their technology needs are different than retail customers.
"So Ford is thinking deeply on connectivity relationships that integrate with our in-vehicle high-speed electrical architectures and cloud-based data services to provide these businesses smart vehicles beyond just the electric powertrains.”
Delivery vans driven by electric motors and batteries instead of internal combustion engines will grow in market-revenue share almost 10-fold and account for 2.4 million sales annually by 2030, according to UK market research firm IDTechEx.
The research firm released a report last week giving its 10-year outlook on light commercial vehicle (LCV) sales across the globe, and the thrust of its finding is that more businesses will switch over to EV not because of climate altruism, but cold economic rationale.
"The main discourse around on-road vehicle electrification has been primarily focused on environmental concerns about the automotive sector’s contribution to climate change and the damaging effect on human health of exhaust pollutants," it said.
"For businesses keen to address the environmental impact of their vehicle fleets a degree of altruism has always been required.
"[But] in the electric light commercial vehicle market, this is about to change. In the near future, the main motivation for businesses to transition to eLCV will not be environmental but economic."
We know a number of car OEMs, startups, and delivery companies are already replacing their fleets. Renault, Nissan or Mercedes-Benz already offer EV vans, while other logistics companies are co-developing their own bespoke alternatives.
For one example, UK electric vehicle startup Arrival has inked a multi-hundred-million euro deal with American logistics giant UPS to supply it with at least 10,000 battery-powered delivery vans from now through 2024.
Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation recently co-invested 100 million euros (about AU$160 million) into the same UK company, asking it to co-develop small and mid-sized EVs for logistics, on-demand ride-sharing and shuttle service operators.
Geely-owned electric vehicle (EV) maker, London Electric Vehicle Company, recently divulged plans to introduce an all-electric van model to its line-up, joining its hybrid TX taxi and shuttle models.