Ford’s all-electric Transit is starting work on European roads as customer trials commence ahead of the volume sales launch in spring 2022.
The trial kicks off with 10 E-Transit prototypes being put to the test across a variety of real-world operating scenarios in the postal, municipal and utilities, last mile and grocery delivery sectors within Germany, Norway and the UK. Among the trial partners are AWB waste disposal, Balfour Beatty, the City of Cologne municipal fleet, DHL Express in the UK, DPD, Norwegian Post, Ocado and Recover Nordic.
The trials fleet features a full range of E-Transit variants including van, double-cab-in-van and chassis cab derivatives with gross vehicle masses from 3.5 to 4.25 tonnes.
The trials mark the latest phase in Ford’s development of the new E-Transit, following a testing programme at Ford proving grounds and engineering facilities. Trials partners will operate the E-Transit prototypes over six- or 12-month periods.
Ford says the E-Transit has been engineered to allow simple and straightforward conversion using the same fixtures and fittings developed for existing Transit models. A selection of the trial vehicles have been converted – with support from the Ford-approved Qualified Vehicle Modifier network – with examples including: Refrigerated box body for grocery delivery, powered by 2.3kW ProPower Onboard system; Dropside body for construction with light beacons and weight sensors; Caged tipper for refuse removal; Last-mile delivery box body with walkthrough bulkhead and rear air suspension; Last-mile delivery van with bonded internal racking, walkthrough bulkhead and front jump seat.
The E-Transit customer trials programme follows an earlier successful initiative featuring the Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid, during which a cross-section of city-based customers covered over 150,000 miles and found they could operate in zero-emission mode for 75 per cent of their mileage when in central London. Further testing in Cologne, Germany helped demonstrate the benefit of geofencing technology, which automatically triggered zero-emissions EV Now mode in areas with particularly high air pollution to help improve air quality in urban areas.
For more on fleet electrification, read “Mercedes-Benz Vans launches eSprinter roadside assistance unit.”