The Ford E-Transit's Price Is Right Where It Needs To Be

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When Ford first announced the E-Transit in November, it promised the electric van would start at under $45,000. Last week, the Blue Oval quietly revealed more pricing information — though not everything — sharing that it’ll begin between $43,295 and $52,690, depending on the body style you prefer.

The gas-powered, low-roof, regular-length cargo Transit starts at $35,020, according to Ford’s website. However, the $43,295 starting price for the E-Transit actually refers to the cutaway version, while the $52,690 price is for the high-roof, extended wheelbase cargo van. A gas-powered Transit cutaway starts at $31,145.

Thus, you’re looking at a $12,150 premium on the cutaway for going electric — prior to the $7,500 federal tax credit, anyway. Factoring those savings in, the E-Transit cutaway costs $4,650 more than its internal-combustion equivalent.

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Last year, Consumer Reports estimated that over seven years of ownership, a battery-electric truck would save its owner $9,000, on average, compared to a similar gas-powered truck, with the savings being less pronounced for passenger cars ($4,700 on average). The data doesn’t make considerations for commercial vehicles, but nevertheless, spending just an extra $4,650 for the electric cutaway (or $3,425 if we use the high-roof, cargo style as an example) seems quite reasonable.

The tradeoff for those savings, as many have argued, is the E-Transit’s reduced range. Ford quotes an EPA-estimated range of 126 miles for the low-roof, cargo E-Transit, which the company says it arrived at based on data about the distances commercial vans actually drive on a daily basis. From Ford’s press release:

A smart workhorse for U.S. cities, the zero-emission E-Transit was designed with insight from 30 million miles of customer telematics data showing that the average commercial van drives 74 miles per day. With a usable battery capacity of 67 kilowatt-hours, the low-roof E-Transit cargo van has a targeted driving range of 126 miles.

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Much is made of the “last mile” a delivery vehicle travels. Electric vans appear well suited for that job, because they can’t travel particularly far (or at least not without much larger and more expensive battery packs). That’s why Canoo’s upcoming MPDV delivery van doesn’t fare much better than Ford’s in terms of overall range estimates, as the startup plans to offer 130, 190 and 230 miles of range across its three battery pack options.

But then the MPDV seems considerably more efficient than the E-Transit, probably because it’s targeting a payload well under 2,000 pounds, compared to the roughly 3,800 pounds of the Ford. Canoo cites 190 miles from the van’s 60 kWh pack, compared to the 126 miles of the 67 kWh pack in the E-Transit. Plus, the MPDV is expected to cost significantly less, starting at $33,000. That all seems a bit too good to be true, and it’s worth pointing out Canoo hasn’t stated whether that $33,000 estimate reflects the cost before or after tax credit.

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Ford will begin taking E-Transit orders in July (though registration is open now) and the first vans are slated to reach fleets before the end of the year.