The all-electric E-Transit from Ford gets to work on Europe’s roads as testing begins by customers with selected fleet managers, ahead of its commercial launch in spring 2022.
The project starts with ten E-Transit prototypes, which are intensively tested in various scenarios in real-world conditions, such as postal, municipal and utility services, urban “last mile” distributions, as well as food distributions in Germany, Norway and the UK. Among the partners carrying out these tests are waste management company AWB, Balfour Beatty, the municipal fleet of the city of Cologne, DHL Express in the UK, DPD, the Norwegian Post Office, Ocado and Recover Nordic.
The fleet of test vehicles includes the entire range of versions of the E-Transit such as van, double-cab-in-van and chassis cab. with gross weights from 3.5 to 4.25 tons, and a wide variety of conversions, reflecting the complex requirements that Transit vehicles need to support.
“We want to show that helping customers reduce their environmental footprint can also improve their productivity,” said Dave Petts, market lead, urban electrified vans, Ford Europe. “The routes that customers cover in real-world conditions help us highlight the benefits of E-Transit to the business, while at the same time providing us with valuable feedback on usage patterns and charging habits so that we can improve the overall experience. We strongly believe that we should treat our customers as if they are our family, and this program shows the value we place on these close partnerships.”
The tests mark the latest phase of the development of the new Ford E-Transit, after a demanding testing program at Ford’s test facility. Partners will make use of the E-Transit prototypes for a period of 6 or 12 months.
E-Transit has been carefully designed to allow for simple and immediate conversions using the same components and equipment that have been developed for existing models. Selected test vehicles have been converted – with the support of the Ford-approved Qualified Vehicle Modifier network – to demonstrate the versatility of the E-Transit platform. Typical examples of conversions are:
Refrigerator for food distribution, with built-in ProPower Onboard charging system 2.3 kW
Version with opening side parts (dropside) for the construction sector, with beacons and weight sensors
Upset with a garbage collection cage
Closed type van for urban “last mile” distributions with opening in the divider and rear air suspension
Van urban “last mile” distribution with built-in shelves, opening in the divider and front folding seat
The testing programme carried out by customers with the new, all-electric E-Transit follows a successful Ford initiative for the Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid, in which a representative sample of city-based customers covered more than 240,000 km and found that the vehicle could operate on the zero-emission programme for 75% of their journey in the central London area. Further tests in Cologne (Germany) highlighted the benefits of an innovative dynamic geofencing technology (geolocker), which automatically activated the zero-emission EV Now program in areas with particularly high air pollution to help improve air quality in urban areas.
In 2020, Ford was named for the sixth consecutive year the No.1 brand in commercial vehicle sales in Europe. The trend continued in 2021, with Ford maintaining its lead as the most popular commercial vehicle brand on the old continent in the first half of the year.