By on November 12, 2020

Ford’s $11.5 billion investment (through 2022) into electrification has birthed its first in a series of planned work vehicles. The E-Transit takes everything that was good about the gasoline-powered Transit van and makes a few sacrifices in the name of progress while also offering a handful of useful features made possible by its 67 kWh battery.

One of the biggest items being surrendered is range. Ford estimates the E-Transit to have an operating area of roughly 126 miles between charges, which isn’t great. However, the company claimed this would be sufficient for the kind of applications it envisioned customers would be using it for and noted that reduced range helped the vehicle come in just under $45,000. Longer-range versions are planned, as well as an all-wheel-drive variant, and Ford has added a few features to the E-Transit not available on the gasoline-driven unit.

All models come with the latest Sync 4 infotainment system and a massive 12-inch touchscreen. For added convenience, this includes a 4G LTE modem and supports over-the-air software updates — which are definitely going to become the norm (for better or worse). As a byproduct of your data being thrown around, Ford will offer an in-cab driving coach. This system can be paired with the voice command feature, allowing a digital assistant to lecture you on your speed and braking performance, or transmitted to fleet managers who want to come down hard on employees that aren’t performing to their liking.

Additional connected services will allow customers/businesses to monitor the charge status of the vehicle, track its location in real-time, pre-condition the cabin while charging (to help preserve range before setting off), and other solutions that skirt the line between helpful and creepy. The manufacturer also noted that it intends to make these features commonplace across the lineup, starting with vehicles intended for commercial use.

But what about the driving experience? Well, the standard Transit is your author’s favorite product in the Ford lineup — now that the company has decided to stop selling sporty hatchbacks. Its 320 hp/400 ft-lb, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 actually makes the van genuinely enjoyable to drive (if you’re into managing weight transfer) when unburdened by cargo. But the E-Transit’s single electrified motor (at the rear) is more congruous with the base engine at just 266 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. No reason to complain there, especially since it’s to be paired with a newly independent rear suspension.

That makes the EV a mixed bag and hard to rationalize over its gasoline-burning equivalent. But Ford has a few tricks up its sleeve. The Pro Power option allows customers to jack into the cargo area to run their tools or anything else that needs less than 2.4 kW of juice — though we have minor concerns about how a full day of work might impact its range. Meanwhile, the lack of a traditional engine has allowed the automaker to mount a full-size spare under the hood.

Ford anticipates the E-Transit to have a maximum payload capacity of 3,800 pounds (4,290 pounds in the cutaway format). But official metrics are dependent on a bit more testing, as is the maximum range. Size also plays a factor here. The van will eventually come in eight configurations, including three roof heights and three lengths as well as a cargo van, chassis cab, and cutaway models. And the heavier/bigger the customer opts to go, the smaller that 126-mile estimated range becomes.

Again, Ford has tried to frame lackluster range as a good way of keeping pricing down. It’s something your author has seen numerous manufacturers do with the latest EVs and it would be a lot easier to swallow if they were priced anywhere near their internal-combustion cousins (minus the government incentives). The popular retort from the industry is that electric vehicles provide more “uptime” to owners by nature of needing less maintenance. That, in addition to their nonexistent gas bill, is supposed to provide a lessened cost of ownership over time. Hoping to drive that point home, Ford is offering an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty on the van and claimed maintenance costs would be 40-percent lower than a standard 2020 Transit over the period.

“This makes E-Transit ideal for commercial customers who know their drive routes and often work in urban environments,” said Ted Cannis, Ford North America general manager of commercial business. “Affordability is key, and our customers buy only what they need to get the job done. E-Transit provides ample range at a price that makes the transition to electric easy. And Ford is just getting started.”

Assuming you’re willing to buy into the uptime arguments and don’t cover a lot of ground for work, the E-Transit could end up being a good fit. But we’re envisioning most orders going to fleet managers overseeing drivers with largely urban routes. The van is set to arrive at dealerships in late 2021 and should carry an entry-level price tag right around $45,000.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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37 Comments on “Ford Unveils the 2022 E-Transit With 126 Miles of Range for $45,000...”

  • avatar

    This is a joke right? 126 miles?

    That is horrendous. Much like with the Mustang Mockery, the “new” F150, and the Blazer..err…bronco, Ford let the interns come up with a vehicle. And the result is $45K for a range from Miami to Port St Lucie.

    And let’s not ignore how bad the range is going to be in the cold 60-70 miles (or Miami to West Palm Beach) and how much worse the range will be once they are loaded down with equipment.

    With “engineering” absolute garbage like this, how does anyone take this brand seriously? It’s pretty sad when you make Tesla look competant.

    • 0 avatar

      This van won’t be all things to all people. But a commercial van was never going to be all things to all people in the first place.

      It is likely to be the perfect tool for a small part of the commercial van market, and it will save those owners time, maintenance, and money.

      I’m an EV enthusiast, and I’m probably not going to buy one either, because it doesn’t match my use-case and because the Tesla Cybertruck might last me until I retire.

      It’s OK if this van isn’t all things to all people. If it winds up being the right tool for the right job for enough people that it was worth building, that’s a win!

      • 0 avatar

        What’s the cost of an ICE, box version of this? $30k?

        I can’t see this working for any fleet buyer where projecting a “green” image doesn’t fit into their company’s mission statement! I wonder how much of a discount there will be for state-contract or other government purchasing methods, as that might be an actual decent use-case, particularly in a smaller geographic area, and particularly where colder weather may not be a big factor—think Atlanta, Dallas, etc.

    • 0 avatar

      What would an article on a Ford product be without EBFlex ripping on it?

      • 0 avatar

        I was prepared to believe that Ford Motor Company employed intelligent individuals who would do some market research (regarding range/cost tradeoffs in this segment) before introducing a new vehicle with new technology – but EBFlex says the interns were in charge.

        [We could form a TTAC Advisory Board generating knee-jerk analysis of blind spots the companies have ‘never thought of’ during the development process and make tens of dollars.]

  • avatar

    Second picture: When using a chop saw, do not wear gloves.

    (If your bare skin makes contact with the blade, that is bad enough, but if you are wearing a glove and make contact with the blade, the saw will grab the glove and pull your fingers and hand further into the rotating blade – which is much worse. Note the company rule cited in the link.)

    • 0 avatar

      I imagine there isn’t much overlap of people with OSHA knowledge and PR photo setter-uppers!

      • 0 avatar

        The blue level sitting by the tape measure is way too large for a framing job. /S

        • 0 avatar
          Tele Vision

          Miter saw, judging by the round base and angled fence. Pedantic, I know. Also, any crew worth the name would plug their tools – and now their new Transit van! – into the build the moment the sparkies got the panel hot. Or into the place next door. Generators burn gas and drown out the garbage music framers seem to favour.

        • 0 avatar

          @ToolGuy, you’re an idiot. That level is magnetic and sticks to the wood framing members [very high Ferrous content in most Spruce-Pine-Fir]. Dolt.

      • 0 avatar

        The person using the saw also is not using respiratory or (apparently) hearing protection. But, the gloves have a long list of places they shouldn’t be used. Often, it’s much better to grind or machine a little meat off than wrap body parts up in a machine. Poor women — horrible accident.

  • avatar

    Anything under 200 miles is in the “you got to be kidding” category nowadays. Especially if you’re going to power tools at a job site.

    • 0 avatar

      For a personal vehicle or for a self-employed builder, yes.

      This van is clearly a niche vehicle for fleets with very predictable mileage.

      I’m not in this particular niche, but that doesn’t mean the niche isn’t worth serving.

      I’m glad this vehicle exists, even though I’m not going to buy one.

      • 0 avatar

        If this truly is a niche “work” vehicle then it shouldn’t cost $45k. $25k-$30k tops.

        This van is laughably bad. Maybe it’s strictly designed for those that pick up children with free candy….they won’t hear it coming

        • 0 avatar

          Figure it’s a $15K van with $30K in fuel not spent (over its life, plus added electricity spent). You write off the whole $45K and the $30 you spent elsewhere on the company (including extra electricity) you get to write off again.

          But how do you profess to know how most vans will be used, or how many miles they log a day? A midsize to large company, like say cable co or utility, will have a wide variety of service vehicles, in several class/sizes, each with their own limitations, cons and drawbacks.

          So whatt if some of their vans can’t do 100+ miles a day? There’s likely a long list of things none of their vans can do ever.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford claims they studied a ton of telematics data and found commercial vans averaging about 75 miles. I’ve done enough delivery work to say that seems plausible, so for a lot of uses, extra range is just wasted battery expense. If bigger batteries follow to cover higher mileage uses (which apparently they will), it’s fine.

      • 0 avatar

        And that is an average, for all those delivery routes there are ones that are closer to the depot than others.

        If I was running the fleet I’d put the first batch on routes that were say 75% of their stated range. Then depending on how that do with that range adjust accordingly. As the range degrades over time replace the units on those routes with new and move the older units to progressively shorter routs.

      • 0 avatar

        Ford claims a lot of stuff. Rarely is any of it based in reality.

        This is laughable. 126 mile rang will be 100 miles when loaded and 65 miles in the cold. Add to that the power used by electric items when on site the range will drop to 50 miles.


    • 0 avatar

      I know of lots of businesses near me that this would make a pretty compelling business case for. Lots of short hop deliveries with multiple start and stops. A tax credit plus write offs as mentioned by DenverMike. Plug in and top off in between runs. Assuming low maintenance/downtime for electric vehicles, this makes a lot of sense. It would also make it so you don’t have to send out visas with drivers (so better financial controls) and cut out some paperwork for the controller from arguably the hardest group to wrangle receipts from. This IMHO is the best use commercial case for electric- light duty short hop vans in urban areas.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    The niche is far too small to manufacture this vehicle. They quit making the Ford Fusion which sold many, many more units than this will sell.

    I agree-anything less than 200 miles is a BIG JOKE!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    126 miles from 67 kWH is horrendous.

    That *has* to be the range with a full payload. Even the smooth brick shape can’t be causing such a low range.

    My Ioniq EV is EPA rated for 124 miles with a tiny 28 kWH battery, but it isn’t a box truck.

    If that’s the warm weather range for the E-Transit, the local merchants who buy them had better only count on half of that – or less – when it’s cold.

  • avatar

    126 mile range might be just fine for a plumber, A/C repairman, and so forth. These folks just drive from location to location to perform their tasks. Maybe not so much suitable for a delivery service which keeps moving all day – they’ll need to wait for the Transit with the “200-mile per gallon carburetor” of batteries (that are promised but never seem to arrive) to be viable. I still believe that battery EV’s are well suited for this type vehicle now and in the near future. I see this Transit as a great thing.

  • avatar

    “The van is set to arrive at dealerships in late 2021” Why is this a YEAR away?

  • avatar

    I love hearing from people not in this van’s intended market saying how stupid Ford is for making this.

    You guys need to roll down the windows when you fart.

  • avatar

    Ok I was curious. This “job site” may not be the most ideal setting to portray this vehicle, but let’s say that the worker doing framing inside the building (out of the camera frame) is using a Milwaukee “M18 FUEL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless 7-1/4 in. Rear Handle Circular Saw” (the modern cordless version of my corded magnesium worm-drive framing saw). Milwaukee claims hundreds of cuts per charge. The 5Ah battery seems to be a popular choice.

    Let’s charge the spare battery in the E-Transit, because for whatever reason the site utilities aren’t hooked up yet. If my math is correct, each time we recharge the tool battery we lose approximately a thousand feet of vehicle range. Seems reasonable to me*.

    * If you are cutting as you go (while measuring twice and cutting once), how many hundreds of framing members are you going to install in one day?

    • 0 avatar

      For something like 3 miles of range, you could run a 15-amp *corded* tool (like the compound miter saw shown) for one hour (continuous); that would be 720 cuts at 5 seconds per cut (saw-on time).

    • 0 avatar

      If you woke up in the morning with a fully charged E-Transit and plugged in the full 2400W load capacity for a solid 10 hours [not recommended?], you would find your range had dropped to ~64% (80 miles remaining).

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