Ford has introduced the electric version of the popular Transit transport truck, with connected vehicle technology to help merchant fleet owners better manage their cargo activities. The E-Transit will have a smaller battery and less range than most passenger EVs released in recent years, but Ford insists it will be more than enough to meet the delivery needs of its commercial miles.
The E-Transit is the second major electric vehicle to be launched as part of Ford’s $ 11.5 billion power boost, which the company says will last until 2022. The first vehicle was the Mustang Mach-E, which Ford will start offering to customers at the end of this year. Next year, the company expects to present an electric version with its best sales Pickup truck F-150.
Ford unveils its electric truck at a time when more people are using delivery than ever before. The coronavirus pandemic has forced more people to shop online for groceries and other services. And the need to invest in less polluting technologies is on the minds of many automakers as nations around the world move to destroy combustion vehicles.
When it launches in 2022, E-Transit will come packing a 76 kWh battery, which will power it for 126 miles. This may seem trivial compared to long range EVs like Tesla, Lucid and others. However, Ford said it made the decision based on 30 million miles of real-world telematics driving of non-electric Transit customers “to offer the right price range based on fleet needs”. Based on this analysis, Ford found that the average daily mileage of a Ford Transit customer was just 76 miles.
People who shop for themselves are looking for “an ambitious vehicle that truly transcends rocket acceleration, range that is beyond belief, etc.,” said Yaroslav Hetman, Ford’s global marketing director for electric trucks and commercial vehicles. . “When you talk to commercial customers, they see things through two lenses: total cost of ownership and security.”
The price must also be right, says Ford. Had he opted for a larger battery with a wider range, the price would have risen, making the E-Transit inaccessible to the customers Ford hopes to target. To that end, Blue Oval is proposing a price of $ 45,000 – about 80 percent more than the suggested price of the non-electric Transit van $ 24,625, but it is competitive with other electric trucks.
Ford’s commercial customers buy anywhere between a Transit truck and tens of thousands. An important selling point during its release will be the availability of the $ 7,500 federal EV tax credit. However, for how long it is unclear: a phasing-out plan is activated after a carmaker delivers its 200,000th eligible car.
Ford offers three variants of the E-Transit, each with a different roof height or body length – but mostly nowhere near the 60 trim levels available for the petrol-powered Transit van.
Of course, the E-Transit is an EV, which means it has to impress us with its vision the future. But it is also not a Tesla or a Mustang, so the high-tech front of the E-Transit will have more to do with fleet functions for business owners. And that means features that sound a little Orwellian on the surface.
Ford describes such a feature as “real-time driver guidance”, in which fleet operators can use the vehicle’s SYNC 4 operating system to monitor the driving of their employees. Whenever an employee exceeds the speed limit, accelerates too fast, brakes hard, leaves the engine running while parked or does not fasten a seat belt, their boss’s disassembled voice will penetrate over the vehicle speakers to correct the their behavior.
“We can use the voice assistant inside the vehicle to really communicate with the driver that they are driving effectively in an unsafe way or have the opportunity to correct some of their behaviors,” said Julius Marchwicki, CEO of Ford Commercial Solutions. “And that real-time feedback for the driver is much more effective than trying to provide post-event guidance.”
There is also a driver ID feature, which gives fleet pilots a way to connect specific drivers to their vehicles. Drivers will need to enter a unique code on the SYNC screen to give their employers a record of which driver is using which vehicle. “By linking a driver to a particular vehicle, managers could analyze performance metrics to potentially identify new guidance opportunities to help manage driver performance,” says Ford.
E-Transit will also serve as a mobile power source with 2.4 kW of exportable power for vehicle owners who need to connect power tools or other appliances. The plugs are located on the rear edge of the front passenger door for easy access. Ford envisions contractors using E-Transit to power a circular saw, for example, during work.
The E-Transit will also share some features with other EVs in the Ford series. For example, owners will be able to remotely adjust the vehicle’s heating and cooling system to optimize charging speed while the vehicle is connected, such as the Mach-E. Fleet operators can also remotely monitor their vehicles after hours and receive alerts if one of their vehicles is stolen, used without permission, towed or even damaged during parking.
E-Transit will land in a wave of new electric vehicles that will be launched in the North American market. Most will be passenger cars, but a handful will be for commercial delivery.
Mercedes-Benz already has introduced an electric version of the Sprinter van. Ford’s main competitor, General Motors, is you work in an electric delivery truck, codenamed “BV1”. Recently, Amazon unveils its first electric delivery vehicle, which is built from the start of EV Rivian. And another start, Bollinger, recently unveiled Deliver-E, an all-electric concept van delivery scheduled for production in 2022. Ford also works with Volkswagen on commercial trucks after the two companies founded a global alliance early last year.
Ford is preparing to mass-produce the E-Transit, investing $ 100 million in a plant in Missouri that will serve as the hub for assembling the van. The company also recently broke ground in a new production unit outside Dearborn, Michigan, where it will build the electric F-150.
At first glance, the E-Transit looks almost identical to its ancestral gas engine. You need to hand it over to Ford to show restraint when designing the E-Transit. It even retains the ventilated grille instead of going with the smooth fascia of a Tesla Model 3 or the paved front end of the Mach-E.
Everything else about E-Transit is non-graphic and intended to be combined with traffic – and that’s good. This is not a vehicle that is meant to trigger your salivary glands and make you feel your wallet. is intended to attract “business customers” who make “business decisions” using spreadsheets with multiple numbers and columns. And to that end, Ford believes it has a winner.
“We do not focus so much on our competition,” Hetman said. “We focus on the customer. And if we can meet their needs on a daily basis, whether it is trucks, vans or retail vehicles, we know we will win. “