Ford Unveils Transit Connect Electric Cargo Van, Will Enter Production This Year

The Ford Motor company has just unveiled its first commercial electric vehicle.  The Transit Connect Electric Cargo van will go into production in late 2010.

It is a small van weighing in at 3948 pounds with a wheelbase of 114.6 inches and a length of 1806. inches.  It can hold from two to five passengers and a 1000 pound payload.

It is a pure electric vehicle utilizing a Siemens 3 phase AC induction motor and single speed transmission that offers 235 Nm of torque and a top speed of 75 mph on flat ground and 60 mph up 3 percent grade.  It will do 0 to 60 in 12 seconds based on curb weight and 15 seconds based on gross vehicle weight rating.

Power comes from a liquid-cooled 28 kwh Johnson Controls-Saft lithium-ion pack that can be recharged in 6 to 8 hours at 240 volts using the industry standard J1772 SAE coupler. It has an 80 mile target driving range.

The vehicle is intended for commercial fleet use and is “well-suited for commercial fleets that travel predictable, short-range routes with frequent stop-and-go driving in urban and suburban environments and a central location for daily recharging,” said Ford in a press release.

The “Force Drive” electric powertrain is manufactured and integrated by specialty upfitter Azure Dynamics.

“We’re excited about the potential for our electrified vehicles,” said Praveen Cherian, program manager for the Transit Connect Electric, who added that today’s electric vehicle buyers are similar to early adopters of hybrid vehicles. “People were a little hesitant about hybrids at first, but now they accept it and embrace it. We expect the same will be true of electric vehicles.”

Ford says the vehicle will offer lower cost of operation than a comparable gas vehicle due to the low cost of electricity versus gas fuel and low cost of maintenance.

The vehicle including the battery pack is designed for a lifetime of 10 years/120,000 miles.

The current gasoline powered Transit Connect van won the 2010 North American Truck of the Year.

According to Ford spokesperson Jennifer Moore pricing has not been announced and will be “primarily for commercial use.”  Ford  ”would not exclude retail sales,” she added.

Ford has not yet determined whether the vans will be leased or sold.

“Volumes will be low to begin with to determine how the emerging market shapes up,” says Moore.  ”Up to a thousand will be produced in the first full year of production.”

Ford also plans to bring out a pure electric Ford Focus in late 2011, and in 2012 they will produce their next generation C-class hybrid and plugin hybrid.


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