Ford Says Electric Transit Vans Are Coming for Real This Time

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Eager to prove itself as a forward thinking mobility brand, Ford has advised us to prepare for the debut of the battery powered E-Transit van on November 12th. Following some heavy teasing from CEO Jim Farley during the company’s third-quarter earnings call a day earlier, Blue Oval issued an official announcement on Thursday to be ready for the commercial vehicle poised to change the way it does vans.

We’ve heard this before. There was supposed to be a battery electric Transit Connect, developed in partnership with Azure Dynamics, coming to market for the 2011 model year. While a prototype existed and was driven around by numerous outlets who praised it for being incredibly normal, the car ended up being prohibitively expensive to manufacture and kind of underwhelming to live with. Range was an abysmal 56 miles (according to the EPA) and the van was only just barely capable of maintaining highway speeds. In the end, Ford handed the project over to Azure  which nixed the passenger model and sold a few thousand commercial versions to various U.S. bureaucracies, coastal power companies, AT&T and the Canada Post for a little under $60,000 a pop.

Azure then went bankrupt.

This week’s announcement is quite different, however. Ford has already started production on the first of what it claims will be many electric vehicles sold directly to Joe Public and is promising the kind of specs that make you think ‘well shucks, things might actually work out this time around.’

Though, like the smaller Transit Connect Electric built by Azure a decade earlier, Ford is again angling the larger E-Transit at the commercial market. Automakers are eager to convince fleet managers that EVs can save them a bundle on fuel and maintenance fees while also trying to push their new software and telematics services. Previous announcements have indicated that the manufacturer would be offering the van in all of the most popular sizes and body styles  including cargo van, cutaway and chassis cab.

Assembly is supposed to commence at the Kansas City Assembly Plant with the first examples hitting the ground late in 2021. The E-Transit is assumed to launch as a 2022 model year vehicle and will have have access to the FordPass charging network.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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