Electric delivery vans are already a reality, but they’re about to become more of a common sight on the road. Ford has finally revealed its long-teased E-Transit, an electrified version of its popular cargo van. It won’t rival some passenger EVs for power with its 67kW battery, 266HP output or 126-mile range, but that’s not really the point — Ford claims it offers more performance and flexibility than many conventional vans while offering that zero-emissions footprint.
The E-Transit is available in three body lengths, three roof heights and other configurations (such as chassis and cutaway versions) much like its standard counterpart. The cargo van model is expected to haul payloads of 3,800lbs versus 2,960lbs for the base combustion-based Transit 150, and will handle 4,290lbs with cutaway models. There’s also 2.4kW of output inside the van so that workers can power tools and equipment without relying on an inverter.
Even the driver gets some perks from the EV shift, such as a knob-like e-shifter that frees up leg room. And while Ford clearly expects charging to happen most often at dedicated stations, the E-Transit supports home charging (including fast charging) for employees that need to take a van with them at the end of the day.
It’s unsurprisingly a digitally-savvy vehicle. You’ll find a large touchscreen for Ford Sync 4 as well as built-in LTE that (when activated) can keep fleets connected. A 360-degree camera system helps with deliveries and navigating tricky parking jobs.
The E-Transit will start at $45,000 when it arrives in late 2021. That’s higher than conventional vans, but it also sits below the prices of those few rival electric vans on the market. Mercedes’ eSprinter costs just over the equivalent of $68,000 before taxes in the UK, for example, despite its shorter range. That could put Ford’s EV within the reach of many more companies, especially when it’s likely to have lower energy and maintenance costs than combustion models. Don’t be surprised if an E-Transit delivers your online orders in the future.
The unveiling is coming just in time, too. Ford is facing increasingly stiff competition, including the Bollinger Deliver-E and the Volta Zero. Even Amazon is getting custom vans from Rivian. If Ford didn’t show the E-Transit now, it risked losing key customers to startups. As it is, this is good news for the environment — the fiercer the competitive landscape, the more likely it is that EVs take over the delivery space.