Ford Australia light commercial EV ambitions are in transit

The new Ford E-Transit light commercial van is expected to significantly boost the Blue Oval’s domestic EV (electric vehicle) charge when it arrives Down Under in mid-2022.

Ford described its E-Transit as a no-compromise business partner that brings all the versatility of the global best-selling Transit and introduces the significant advantage of zero tailpipe emissions while being more than capable of taking on the toughest of tasks.

Claiming a driving range of up to 317km  – ostensibly more than 2.5 times the average distance a commercial van travels each day – Ford said its E-Transit enables commercial customers to take care of business, while pocketing the savings from substantially reduced running costs.

The E-Transit is part of Ford Australia’s recently announced electrification strategy that will reportedly give local customers the choice of at least five new Ford electrified vehicles by the end of 2024.

The company’s electrification strategy will include some already popular nameplates while also introducing new models intended to diversify and broaden its local vehicle range.

These will be made up largely of battery electric vehicles (BEV), while plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) will also play a role, offering a vehicle to meet the lifestyle requirements of every Australian customer, Ford said in a statement.

“We are accelerating our electrified future in Australia,” said Ford Australia and New Zealand President and CEO, Andrew Birkic.

“We are anticipating the needs of each type of customer and bringing the best of our global lineup to meet those requirements. For business customers, E-Transit delivers the durability and capability they need to serve their customers, along with zero-emissions efficiency.”

With a usable battery capacity of 68kWh, E-Transit offers an estimated driving range of up to 317km on the combined Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) cycle.

According to Ford, this means the E-Transit has enough range to meet daily requirements with sufficient additional capacity to account for variations in vehicle load and weather conditions.

The vehicle’s electric motor has a peak output of 198kW and 430Nm of torque, making it the most powerful Transit currently available in Australia.

Its rear-wheel drive layout also ensures outstanding traction when the vehicle is heavily laden.

E-Transit’s drive modes are said to be tailored to its electric powertrain. A special Eco Mode can provide between eight and 10 per cent improvement in energy usage if E-Transit is driven unladen, or at highway speeds.

Eco Mode limits top speed, regulates acceleration and optimises climate control to help maximise the available driving range.

The vehicle also features Scheduled Pre-Conditioning, enabling the climate control system to be programmed to adjust the cabin to the preferred temperature while the vehicle is still on charge, thus optimising driving range.

E-Transit features both AC charging and DC fast-charging. The vehicle’s 11.3kW on-board AC charger is capable of delivering a 100 per cent charge in up to 8.2 hours.

Alternatively, charging with up to 115kW using a high-power DC fast-charger, E-Transit’s battery can be topped-up from 15 per cent to 80 per cent in around 34 minutes, Ford said. 

Ford engineers designed E-Transit’s driveline and rear suspension system to optimise cargo space, locating the battery underneath the body and creating a heavy-duty semi-trailing arm suspension system that reportedly enables better steering precision and more confident handling, plus better traction in both laden and unladen conditions.

This is said to allow for an uncompromised cargo capacity of up to 11.3 cubic metres in mid-roof specification and 12.4 cubic metres for the high roof version, both of which are identical to the Transit 350L RWD diesel equivalents.

A gross vehicle mass (GVM) of up to 4.2 tonnes is expected to be offered, with a targeted payload capacity of 1,616kg.

Customers will also benefit from Ford’s five-year, unlimited kilometre service offering that sits alongside the eight-year, 160,000 km warranty package for the battery and high-voltage electric components.

Full model specification and pricing details for the E-Transit will be announced closer to its Australian market launch.