Ford confirms first electric vehicle for New Zealand

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Words: Matthew Hansen
13 Nov 2020

Ford’s push for electrification in the commercial sector has continued with the overnight unveiling of the fully electric E-Transit van. And, it’s set to be sold locally, too.

Based on the enlarged Transit Custom, the E-Transit doesn’t look particularly different at first glance. A dash of blue through the grille is the best indicator. But make no mistake, this is one of the most significant EVs to have been unveiled to date.

Along with being one of Ford’s first EVs, following in the footsteps of the Mustang Mach-E, the E-Transit could also become a serious sales hero in Europe and the US. In these markets, Ford is the number one seller of commercial vehicles. While others have built EV vans in the past, this is arguably the first chance the genre has had to sell in significant volume.

Overseas Ford will offer the E-Transit in three different lengths and three different heights, and all will feature a rear-wheel drive layout. At the centre of it is a 67kWh battery shared across all models, mated to an electric motor producing 198kW of power and 429Nm of torque.

Range is a mixed bag thus far. American models rated by the EPA for 202km of travel per charge (in low bodystyle variants), while European models are good for 350km of travel per charge according to the WLTP. Ford New Zealand has confirmed that the E-Transit will be offered locally from mid-2022. But, pricing and specs are still to be confirmed.

One of the most important topics with van electrification is whether the addition of big bulky batteries compromises space. It’s not the case in the E-Transit, with its interior dimensions identical to a standard Transit Custom. This means an untouched 2025mm tall, 1784mm wide, and 4217mm long load space will be available in high roof long-wheelbase models.

Ford, clearly with fleet companies in mind, have noted that the E-Transit boasts maintenance costs that are 40 per cent lower than its internal combustion cousins over an eight-year or 161,000km period.

“Ford is North America and Europe’s commercial vehicle leader, so the transition of fleet vehicles to zero emissions, especially for the fast-growing last-mile delivery segment, is critical to achieve our carbon neutral goal by 2050,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president and CEO.

“Ford is ready to lead the charge that started with its award-winning Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid and EcoBlue Hybrid. It’s good for the planet and a huge advantage for customers with lower operating costs and new connected technologies that will help their businesses. We are doubling down on the software and digital services to help our fleet customers grow and more efficiently run their businesses.”

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