IT’S spark and ride for Ford’s classic Transit van – as the firm unveils an electric version.
The iconic workhorse, which first hit Britain’s roads in 1965, will now come in E-Transit option, with a 217-mile range.
The new van chimes perfectly with The Sun’s Green Team campaign, which calls for more drivers to go electric, and Ford claims it will be able to do the job of 95 per cent of existing diesel Transits, carrying as much load and recharging in 34 minutes.
Workers can even use it to power tools and lighting at job sites, while over-the-air software updates will mean satnav and other connectivity never gets old.
It will cost as little as 4p a mile to run, compared to 12p a mile for diesel, and Ford promises servicing costs will be up to 40 per cent lower, as elec-tric vehicles have fewer mechanical parts.
The E-Transit’s computer will even predict failures to cut downtime for repairs.
Alerts will notify fleet operators if a vehicle is potentially being stolen, used without authorisation, being towed or even if it has been damaged while parked.
If any of these occur, GPS tracking also allows managers to see the location of their vehicles, even when they are turned off.
Ford chief executive Jim Farley, speaking exclusively to The Sun — and writing for us, below — said: “This is a really big deal for our customers.
“The E-Transit has enough range for day-to-day, with a bit to spare for variations in load and weather conditions.
“It’s a game-changer for avoiding cost and good for the planet.”
The E-Transit will launch in 2023 in 25 variations and will cost around £34,000 — about eight grand more than a typical diesel version — but its fuel costs will be significantly lower and it will qualify for zero emission discounts, such as free use in London’s Congestion Zone.
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‘Our Spinal Tap moment, up to 11 on the amplifier’
By Ford CEO Jim Farley
HAVE you ever seen Spinal Tap? This is like the 11 on the amplifier, not ten.
It’s that important to us. We like to say Transit built Britain but Transit is now a global icon for Ford, not just in the UK.
Last month 45 per cent of our sales in China were Transit. We’re No1 in North America. We learned a lot with the one-tonne Transit Custom when we put a PHEV in it (plug-in hybrid).
We measured the heck out of it, we gave it to a lot of fleets in London, we learned about the reality of range. One thing we learned is, commercial customers do not want to overbuy a battery, they want a battery that’s just the right size.
They don’t want to haul around a battery they won’t use. Like versus a Tesla customer, they’ll haul around a battery just in case — that’s not a commercial customer.
I like to say to people, E-Transit is not just electrifying Transit, it is a digital move for the company. Our customers are asking us: Please build these kinds of vehicles. Please give us the data off the vehicle, so we never have anything taken off the road.
We know before it fails. And with E-Transit we’ll bring portable electricity to the job site — so you can use those batteries to power things when you are working remotely.
This is one of the signature moves at Ford. Electrifying our two highest-volume work vehicles in the world — Transit and F-150 — are enormous commitments. To use an American expression, it is the first innings of a nine-innings game.
We absolutely have aggressive plans to continue to electrify our commercial vehicles. You can expect Ford to be a leader in driving electric adoption.
Our first European-built all-electric passenger vehicle launches in 2023. I can’t tell you more about that vehicle right now, but I do know you’ll be knocked out when you see it and even more impressed when you drive it.
- 217-mile range
- 67kWh battery
- Recharges to 80% in 34 mins
- 4p a mile to run
- 269hp and 430Nm
- 25 body styles
- Powers tools at job site
- 40% lower servicing costs
- l 12-inch touchscreen with over-the-air software updates
- On-board computer predicts failures
- 360-degree cameras
- Payload up to 1,967kg
- Rear-wheel drive
- Here early 2022
- Prices from £34,000
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