Ford Transit is an iconic model that defined the large van segment. This popular van has served builders, bakers and delivery companies for many, many years and, for many people, the Transit is what they picture when they think of commercial vans. Ford's announcement at the end of 2020 that the brand new electric Transit van would be available in Europe in 2022 was nothing short of revolutionary. Following the opening of order books in May 2021, Ford's Otosan factory in Kocaeli, Turkey, reached full capacity after receiving more than 5,000 orders for the new electric commercial van and nearly a year later, the first batch is ready for delivery to customers.
The electric version of the Transit van is big news in the van world
The e-Transit is part of Ford's $30 billion electrification strategy. Ford's plan is that its European commercial vehicle lineup will be 100% zero-emission, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2024, with two-thirds of all-electric and plug-in hybrid commercial vehicle sales expected by 2030.
The transformation from diesel-powered icon to electric trendsetter has not been easy and certainly not as straightforward as swapping the engine and gearbox for a motor and battery. Specifically designed electrical and mechanical elements have been used on the E-Transit, including a different rear axle and suspension configuration than the diesel Transit.
Ford is not the first manufacturer to go electric with their commercial line-up, though. The Renault Master E-Tech has been around for several years, while Mercedes' most recent eSprinter has already become the top choice among van fleets. While both vans are considered the main rivals to the electric Transit van, their offerings are somewhat limited. There is also the Maxus E Deliver 9, which is derived from the cheap and cheerful LDV EV80 and offers a compelling line-up, but will it be as popular as a Ford?
The Ford E-Transit's battery and range
While EVs are known for being fast, the electric Transit van takes being powerful to an entirely new level. It comes in two versions: the top-rated 261bhp model and a less powerful 181bhp model. You'll be far faster than ever in either vehicle, and the E-Transit builds speed effortlessly in an instant. The fleet managers have to make sure that their drivers don't floor the accelerator pedal every time even though it's tempting!
E-Transit's power helps it run quickly with a full payload and also makes it useful for towing. Moreover, the new electric Transit van offers an impressive range, with official figures suggesting a range of up to 196 miles between charges.
Batteries are located beneath the chassis of the vehicle in a reinforced box. It lowers the centre of gravity compared to diesel Ford Transits and their rivals, which typically pack their batteries between the chassis rails. This makes the E-Transit stick to the road like no other van. Thanks to all that floor weight and the coil-sprung suspension, the Transit EV not only rides smooth and is quiet, but it also offers better handling and riding.
Ford E-Transit uses two methods of regenerative braking. The high level of braking can be set by pressing the L mode button on the dash, or you can choose a two-stage braking method by tapping the brake pedal - the first tap provides medium braking but if you tap again, the braking force increases to high.
You can choose one of three driving modes, Normal, Eco or Slippery, based on whether you want to conserve battery power or match the road conditions.
How long does it take to charge the electric Ford eTransit?
It is possible to charge the E-Transit from 15-80% of its battery capacity in only 34 minutes if you have access to a fast charger. Alternatively, a wall-box charger with 11.3kW will take eight hours to charge.
The interior of the electric Transit van
Ford Transit vans boast spacious interiors and the Transit-e is no different. You find a few storage compartments located in the cabin, just like you would in the diesel model and enough soft-touch plastic to make the interior look bright. There is one significant change though.
Ford eTransit comes with a 12-inch wipe-clean, glare-resistant touchscreen borrowed from the Ford Mustang Mach-E. You'll be able to access infotainment, navigation, and a number of enhanced features using FordPass Connect with twice the computing power of the outgoing system. Regular over-the-air updates will also be available for the SYNC 4, keeping it and its systems up-to-date.
Trim options for the Transit EV
There are two trim levels available, e-Transit Leader and e-Transit Trend, and all offer significantly higher specifications than the equivalent Ford Transit diesel models. Basic vans come standard with Electronic Air Temperature Control, keyless entry, heated seats, a Quickclear windscreen, and heated power mirrors. Choose the Transit EV Trend model to take advantage of the added Ford Connected Navigation System, which can plan the most efficient route and update drivers on charging, traffic, live parking availability, as well as the Intelligent Range to display a more accurate distance-to-empty range. With the electric Ford Transit Trend you will also get cruise control, pre-collision assistance with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and front and rear parking distance sensors.
FordPass Connect modems are standard on all E-Transits, providing connectivity to Ford Pro software updates and the Ford Pro ecosystem to provide additional features and benefits. A lifetime subscription to FordPass Pro or Ford Pro Telematics Essentials is also included, as is a year's access to the Blue Oval Charging Network.
In addition, Fleet customers receive a year of complimentary access to Ford Pro E-Telematics.
What are the size options and payload capacity of the Ford E Transit?
Because one size never fits all when it comes to business vans, Ford offers a wide range of models. Nothing can touch the Transit lineup with its thousands of ready-bodied variations and endless chassis cab conversion options though.
E-Transit has a smaller range of 25 models, but with three different body lengths, three different roof heights, crew cab van models, and chassis cab versions to satisfy multiple needs, Transit EV still offers a wider selection than any other electric van. One that comes close is the Maxus E Deliver 9, with its choice of wheelbases and panel van and chassis versions.
E-Transit vans are available in 3.5-tonne, 3.9-tonne, and 4.25-tonne weights. The electric Ford Transit van offers a maximum load volume of 15.1 m3 and a maximum payload capacity of 1,758 kg.
Since the Transit EV is a rear-wheel-drive version of the Transit van, its biggest downside is that the cargo bay floor is especially high. For the kind of users who are most likely to adopt E-Transit early - namely courier fleets - this could be off-putting.
How safe is the electric Ford Transit van?
Ford got a chance to improve its safety kit with the introduction of the model in order to keep up with its competitors, and it certainly didn't waste it. Ford Transit-e improvements include Reverse Brake Assist, which utilises sensors and a camera to detect vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists as well as static objects when reversing. If the driver doesn't react to the warning, the van will stop automatically.
Also new is a 360-degree camera which offers a full view of the surrounding area on the touchscreen.
How much is the Ford e-Transit?
Ford has confirmed that the zero-emissions e-Transit will be priced from £47,700 (excluding VAT) which means that it is less expensive than the Mercedes eSprinter and has a similar price to the Renault Master E-Tech.
There is a price to pay for all the high tech systems, the screen, the expensive battery and the motor, but when you look at the electric vans on a wider scale, the Ford E-Transit represents exceptional value for money. This new large electric van offers a bigger battery, more choice, more power, and more range than rivals while beating them on price.
How long is the warranty on the Transit-e van?
Under the Ford warranty, the vehicle is covered for three years and 60,000 miles, plus an additional 100,000 miles for the electric components, including the battery.
Even if the Ford E-Transit's name doesn't sell it (as if!), its outstanding performance and payload capacity, coupled with its competitive price, are already making it the most talked about and popular large electric van on the market. We can help you find the best leasing deal on the new electric Ford Transit van - just hit the button below to browse our special offers or call us on 01424 863456 to discuss your requirements.
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