March 4th, 2020 by Steve Hanley
Ford announced this week it will offer a battery electric version of its Transit cargo van beginning with the 2022 model year. The electric Transit will join the Mustang Mach-E and an all electric version of the bestselling F-150 pickup truck as Ford ramps up its EV offerings.
“Commercial vehicles are a critical component to our big bet on electrification,” says Ford CEO Jim Farley in a press release. “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.”
Cargo vans are in demand as online shopping retailers like Amazon and Walmart expand their business models. Ford expects 8% of all new vehicles sold in America will be cargo vans by 2025. Delivery companies are under pressure from consumers to decrease their carbon footprints while fleet operators are always interested in improving profit margins. With much lower maintenance and fuel costs, electric vehicles can be money-makers for delivery companies while making customers happy as the same time. It’s a win-win for EVs.
“The world is heading toward electrified products and fleet customers are asking for them now,” Farley adds. “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.”
Telematics is a word near and dear to a fleet manager’s heart. It means being able to track vehicle location, speed, state of battery charge, and many more parameters in real time to increase efficiency and lower costs. The electric Transit will come with full internet connectivity thanks to a built in 4G LTE wi-fi hotspot.
The vans will also include pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane departure control, and auto high beam technology. The electric chassis will be available in cargo van, cutaway, or cab plus chassis configuration. Three roof heights and three body lengths will be offered to suit the needs of every customer.
Service will be provided by Ford’s network of 730 commercial vehicle centers in North America. Ford also says it has the largest public charging network with more than 12,000 locations throughout the US and Canada. Range and pricing details will be announced as the date for the start of production gets closer.
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