The Ford E-Transit Is The Most Exciting Electric Car In Years

Illustration for article titled The Ford E-Transit Is The Most Exciting Electric Car In Years
Photo: Ford

Ford debuted its all-electric E-Transit van this morning, and I have to say, of all the electric car debuts we’ve seen in recent years — the Volkswagen ID.4, the Mustang Mach-E, the Hummer EV, the Cadillac Lyriq, yes, even the Polestar 2 and Honda E — the E-Transit is more exciting than them all.

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This is because the E-Transit has practical applications that other EV cars simply don’t offer. Vans tend to be used for short trips and are also used widely for the so-called “last mile” of deliveries. An electric van completing those trips should have meaningful effects on emissions since commercial vehicles contribute a fair amount of pollution to the environment.

Further, the E-Transit will start at less than $45,000, Ford says, or just $4,000 around $15,000 more than an equivalent internal combustion Transit.

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(Corrected, 6:43 p.m.: See the following tweets:

Carry on.) 

And the E-Transit has a generator onboard capable of powering tools like saws. Range is an estimated 126 miles, which isn’t spectacular, but, again, vans make lots of short trips; with enough charging points that is very doable.

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The E-Transit will make the equivalent of 266 horsepower, and 317 lb-ft of torque. Ford says it will be out by “late 2021.”

This is all, frankly, pretty impressive from Ford. Here’s a bit more from Ford’s release. The E-Transit, notably, is highly focused on the commercial market.

E-Transit offers the same interior cargo dimensions and standard mounting points for continued integration with hundreds of upfitters and vehicle modifiers worldwide who provide compatible racks, bins and accessories on gas-powered Transit. The majority of U.S. Transit vehicles sold last year were upfitted, and Ford continues to provide the same upfit financing support for van customers, including those who purchase or lease. With 13 upfitters located conveniently within 30 miles of the assembly plant, customers get fast delivery to the upfitter of their choice right when they order their van, removing the need for an upfit after delivery and helping them get on the road quickly.

While most newcomers in the van business are still building prototypes, developing testing protocols and addressing difficult usage conditions, Ford’s commercial vehicle ecosystem is expanding to include electric vehicle monitoring software and connected solutions for fleets to seamlessly integrate into day-to-day operations.

[...]

E-Transit features both AC and DC fast charging, coming standard with a Ford Mobile Charger that can plug into a normal 120-volt outlet for slow and steady charging or into a 240-volt outlet for faster charging. Those seeking the fastest home charging solution can purchase the Ford Connected Charge Station, which can fully charge E-Transit in eight hours.

On a 115-plus-kilowatt DC fast charger, E-Transit cargo van low-roof models can achieve approximately 30 miles of range in 10 minutes and approximately 45 miles of range in 15 minutes. When plugged into a 240-volt outlet, E-Transit cargo van low-roof models achieve approximately 10 miles per charging hour using the Ford Mobile Charger. Employing a Ford Connected Charge Station brings the number up to approximately 15 miles per charging hour.

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Ford’s people stressed over and over during their debut event that the E-Transit is also focused on the lower cost of ownership and how the E-Transit requires less service than internal combustion engine cars. Which are, in the end, the reasons that customers will eventually flip to electric, not because they are trying to save the world but because it makes bottom-line sense.

This is all a bit overdue — an electric work van for the US market has been a pretty obvious move for some time now — and yet that somehow makes it better that it’s finally almost here.

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News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

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DISCUSSION

halftrackelcamino
Half-track El Camino

Well, that is completely fucking useless to me. 126 mile range. Damn, I really wanted one of these.

I’m not surprised, I guess. Short-range electric vans for in-town-only work are the easy way to go in terms of development, and with a $10,500 price premium for this short-range E-van over the base model ICE version (and a lot of commercial operators do buy base models) I shudder to think what the cost of a 300-mile E-Transit would be. I don’t know where Erik is getting that $4,000 price premium quote, base Transits start at $34,500.

Still, I was hoping Ford would be bolder here. This is a van that could have—arguably should have—been produced five or even ten years ago. I was really hoping they’d offer them in a range of ranges, so to speak, with different battery sizes to suit the needs of different types of operators. Something that could make a play for a bigger slice of the market, rather than just picking the lowest-hanging fruit possible.

Ford has done the bare minimum here, and that’s disappointing. I really, really want my next company vehicle to be an EV but this thing just flat-out will not cut it.