Ford has big plans for electric vehicles, including the upcoming Mustang Mach-E and an all-electric F-150 variant. The future looks bright for the Blue Oval, but who says the future can't arrive today? Following its recent reveal, the 2022 Ford E-Transit van just became Ford's first commercial electric vehicle. This isn't some futuristic model that won't be available until 2025; it's a working van that real businesses can buy very soon.
The E-Transit will arrive late 2021 as a 2022 model year vehicle, helping business transport and deliver products in urban areas with zero emissions. No other vehicle of this type currently exists, meaning Ford may have the market to itself when the E-Transit arrives.
We'd describe the E-Transit as shockingly ordinary. It looks nearly identical to the gas-powered Transit, but with some blue streaks and a charging port nestled in the front grille. Compared with upcoming vehicles like the Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo, the E-Transit doesn't shout to passersby about its electric drivetrain. Instead, Ford took a conservative approach to the styling, likely to please current van customers who would consider an electric drivetrain but are fine with how the current Transit looks.
Just like the exterior, Ford hasn't gone to great lengths to differentiate the E-Transit's cabin from the standard model. The most noticeable difference is a switch from a standard gear lever to a rotating knob, like the one used on many Ford passenger vehicles. The E-Transit also serves as the first commercial vehicle to get Ford's new SYNC 4 infotainment suite, housed on a massive 12-inch touchscreen. SYNC4 brings with it useful features for fleet customers, including cloud-enhanced navigation, over-the-air updates, full smartphone integration, and available options like a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Ford Telematics, and Ford Data Services.
Ford even improved safety with lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, speed sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring, and a 360-degree camera all included as standard. Behind the seats, the E-Transit still works well as a van with up to 487.3 cubic feet of cargo space available.
The current Ford Transit is available with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, in naturally aspirated or twin-turbocharged guises. The base engine provides 275 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, while the twin-turbo mill boosts these figures to 310 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Though the E-Transit can not match either gas engine on power with 266 hp, it splits the torque difference with 317 lb-ft. And remember, that torque is delivered instantly.
The electric motor in the E-Transit sends all of the juice from the 57-kWh battery pack to the rear wheels only. Ford designed this van for short urban delivery trips, as even the low-roof cargo version can only travel 126 miles on a charge. Depending on how far a delivery driver travels in one day, this range could be sufficient. If the driver does need to stop to charge, Ford says the E-Transit can recover up to 30 miles of range in just 10 minutes of charging and 45 miles after just 15 minutes on a DC fast charger.
When it arrives in late 2021, the Ford E-Transit will be the only electric van of its kind. That will leave it without competition, at least for the foreseeable future. Volkswagen plans to enter this space with the ID Buzz Cargo, but that vehicle won't arrive until at least 2022 and it will be smaller than the E-Transit. No exact prices have been provided, but Ford says the E-Transit will start at under $45,000 for US fleet customers. That should make it comparable to a twin-turbo Transit, and thus an interesting option for businesses.