Ford Says Electric Transit Vans Are Coming for Real This Time

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ford says electric transit vans are coming for real this time

Eager to prove itself as a forward thinking mobility brand, Ford has advised us to prepare for the debut of the battery powered E-Transit van on November 12th. Following some heavy teasing from CEO Jim Farley during the company’s third-quarter earnings call a day earlier, Blue Oval issued an official announcement on Thursday to be ready for the commercial vehicle poised to change the way it does vans.

We’ve heard this before. There was supposed to be a battery electric Transit Connect, developed in partnership with Azure Dynamics, coming to market for the 2011 model year. While a prototype existed and was driven around by numerous outlets who praised it for being incredibly normal, the car ended up being prohibitively expensive to manufacture and kind of underwhelming to live with. Range was an abysmal 56 miles (according to the EPA) and the van was only just barely capable of maintaining highway speeds. In the end, Ford handed the project over to Azure which nixed the passenger model and sold a few thousand commercial versions to various U.S. bureaucracies, coastal power companies, AT&T and the Canada Post for a little under $60,000 a pop.

Azure then went bankrupt.

This week’s announcement is quite different, however. Ford has already started production on the first of what it claims will be many electric vehicles sold directly to Joe Public and is promising the kind of specs that make you think ‘well shucks, things might actually work out this time around.’

Though, like the smaller Transit Connect Electric built by Azure a decade earlier, Ford is again angling the larger E-Transit at the commercial market. Automakers are eager to convince fleet managers that EVs can save them a bundle on fuel and maintenance fees while also trying to push their new software and telematics services. Previous announcements have indicated that the manufacturer would be offering the van in all of the most popular sizes and body styles including cargo van, cutaway and chassis cab.

Assembly is supposed to commence at the Kansas City Assembly Plant with the first examples hitting the ground late in 2021. The E-Transit is assumed to launch as a 2022 model year vehicle and will have have access to the FordPass charging network.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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2 of 21 comments
  • David Cardillo David Cardillo on Oct 30, 2020

    ...what a tease.....

  • Pickles69 Pickles69 on Nov 01, 2020

    I'm a small business owner who currently drives big Nissan NV2500 High Roof V8. It's an excellent van but I can't wait for something electric. There is NO way my costs to charge will be near the gargantuan amount I currently spend driving 30,000 miles a year, in the gas Nissan. With hope, the Ford Transit electric will be dependable and have a good range. I also can't wait to have a full "tank" every morning. Hurry up Ford.

  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.
  • SCE to AUX One data point: my rental '23 Model 3 had good build quality, but still not as good as my Hyundais.Test mule aside, perhaps the build quality of the CT will be good in 2027.