Photo: Ford
2022 Ford E Transit 14 Lead Image 5fad8b2e841f9

Ford unveils 2022 E-Transit cargo van

Nov. 13, 2020
The all-electric version of Ford’s Transit cargo van has been designed with insights gleaned from 30 million miles of commercial fleet data and delivers an estimated driving range of 126 miles.

E-commerce sales in the U.S. increased by nearly 50% in the second quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with delivery vehicle demand also on the rise, according to Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO.

The start of the decade also put a sharp focus on environmental sustainability, with many OEMs focusing on various carbon neutrality commitments. Ford, which has announced its commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050, revealed its 2022 E-Transit van, which features a fully electric powertrain. Farley also pointed out the electric van will address two major fleet concerns  total cost of ownership and uptime.

"These trends are occurring as cities around the world are getting very serious about CO2 and air quality improvement," Farley said. "If we are going to do our part, we must transition commercial vehicles to zero emissions. For us, it starts with the E-Transit."

A small commercial fleet comprising eight to nine medium-sized vans likely travels about 150,000 miles a year, Farley pointed out. "If we convert that small fleet from gas engine power to full electric, we save more than 118,000 lbs. or nearly 54,000 kilos of CO2 every year," he said.

For E-Transit cargo vans in the U.S., Ford is targeting a maximum payload of 3,800 pounds, and up to 4,290 pounds for cutaway versions – with an electric motor delivering a targeted 266 horsepower/198 kilowatts of power and 317 lb.-ft. of torque.  When the E-Transit rolls out in late 2021, upfitters can look forward to a jolt of opportunity, noted Ray Eyles, chief program engineer for Ford Transit Vans in North America.

“When the [gasoline-engine] Transit was introduced to North America back in 2014, we saw some real creativity in the upfitter segment — things that they could do with the Transit that they couldn't do before with their installation vehicles,” he said. “We're going to see the same with the electric Transit and some significant creativity around things that they can do that they couldn't do before.”

The fresh possibilities stem from the inherent advantage of electric vehicles (EVs) in certain applications, and from the available Pro Power Onboard system. This turns E-Transit into a mobile generator with up to 2.4 kilowatts of available on-board external power.

Eyles suggested that due to more on-board power, new refrigeration applications could quickly develop around the E-Transit. Ultimately, he said, the vehicles are meant to be used as rolling toolboxes for construction workers, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning repair technicians, and anyone who works as a one-person operation and takes all their tools to the job site.

E-Transit is available with a choice of three roof heights and three body lengths, as well as in cargo, cutaway, and chassis cab versions. The van’s battery is located underneath the vehicle body, allowing up to 487.3 cubic feet of cargo space inside the high-roof, extended wheelbase variant.

Range, charging, connectivity

E-Transit has been designed with insight from 30 million miles of fleet telematics data to deliver an estimated driving range of 126 miles in the low-roof cargo van variant.

Ted Cannis, Ford North America general manager of commercial business, also noted that Ford will offer a variety of charging solutions to fit fleet and driver needs. E-Transit comes with access to a public charging network, and both AC and DC fast charging that come standard with a Ford Mobile Charger. These can plug into a normal 120-volt outlet for slow and steady charging, or into a 240-volt outlet for faster charging. An optional home charging solution, the Ford Connected Charge Station, is also available.

Usha Raghavachari, lab director, D-Ford lab in London, noted that charging infrastructure and vehicle range is a top fleet management concern. Jim Bigelow, senior director, Enterprise Fleet at Cox Enterprises, pointed out that a majority of his company's drivers are home start, so it’s important to have some form of a charging capability at home, which is where Ford's Connected Charge Station comes in handy.

“I don’t think the Connected Charge Station is really targeted at being a fleet depot solution,” Eyles told FleetOwner. “With 100 or more vehicles, it’s really industrial electrification, and we’ll work with each of the fleets to help them find solutions there. We don’t have an off-the-shelf solution that we can offer right now with regard to installing into a depot.”

When it comes to public charging, Eyles noted that Ford has partnered with Greenlots to continue to expand the overall charging network across North America. In addition, Ford uses Electrify America’s DC fast-charging stations. 

And for fleets that experience unexpected breakdowns, Ford will provide roadside assistance.

“We recognize that not everybody is as careful about managing their energy usage and they may get in a situation where they run out of power,” Eyles explained. “The Ford roadside assistance service is designed to take you to a charging point in the nearest 35-mile radius to connect the vehicle and get a charge.”

For connectivity, when activated, the vehicle’s 4G LTE modem unlocks available data. Remote services like vehicle pre-conditioning – which optimizes cabin temperatures while E-Transit is plugged in – are also available, as well as charging reports that enable fleet managers to reimburse drivers who bring their vans home in the evening.

E-Transit also features additional standard Ford Co-Pilot360 technologies, including a lane-keeping system and pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking. Available features include blind spot information system with blind spot assist, a 360-degree camera, and reverse brake assist.

Maintenance costs, learning curve

When it comes to electrification, fleets are concerned about total cost of ownership and uptime. Farley said the E-Transit improves both.

“First, less maintenance on full EVs means lower cost,” he explained. “E-Transit owners should save about 40% on operating costs versus a gas-powered Transit during each vehicle’s lifetime. Customers should see more uptime, too. E-Transit has significantly fewer parts than internal combustion vans, with nearly 90% fewer parts in its propulsion system alone, reducing the potential for expensive repairs.”

For maintenance technicians, Eyles said safety is the most significant learning curve.

“We’re dealing with high-voltage electrics and we have to make sure that everybody working on the vehicle has been through a level of training that they are comfortable to safely work on a high-voltage vehicle,” he said.

“We will be working with our fleet partners to make sure they can do their own maintenance in their shops,” Eyles added, noting that the company provides them with the same training and standards as Ford EV-certified shops.

Ford has a network of 1,800-plus global commercial vehicle dealers, including 645 commercial vehicle centers across the U.S. — 90% of which are EV-certified.

“We are seeing that the tipping point is coming in this decade with regard to electrification and commercial vans,” Eyles said. “We don’t want to stand in the way of the train here, we have to be on the train and be right at the front of it, moving forward.” 

About the Author

Cristina Commendatore

Cristina Commendatore was previously the Editor-in-chief of FleetOwner magazine. She reported on the transportation industry since 2015, covering topics such as business operational challenges, driver and technician shortages, truck safety, and new vehicle technologies. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...