Consumer trials for Ford’s all-electric Transit van have begun with a selection of major fleet operators ahead of its sales launch in spring 2022.
The trial kicks off with ten E-Transit prototypes being put to the test across a variety of intensive 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, 1 and a variety of specialised vehicle conversions that reflect the complex operating requirements that Transit vehicles need to support.
Dave Petts, market lead for urban electrified vans at Ford of Europe, said: “We want to demonstrate that helping customers reduce their environmental impact can go hand-in-hand with improving their productivity.
“Real-world mileage in customer hands helps us to show the business benefits that E-Transit can deliver, as well as providing valuable feedback on usage patterns and charging behaviour so that we can refine the operating experience. We firmly believe in treating our customers like family, and this programme highlights the value we place on those close partnerships.”
The trials mark the latest phase in Ford’s development of the new E-Transit, following a demanding testing programme at Ford proving grounds and engineering facilities. Trials partners will operate the E-Transit prototypes over six- or 12-month periods.
E-Transit has been carefully 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 – to help demonstrate the versatility of the E-Transit platform.
Examples of the conversions include a refrigerated box body for grocery delivery, powered by 2.3kW ProPower Onboard system, as well as a last-mile delivery box body with walkthrough bulkhead and rear air suspension. Over conversions featured a dropside body for construction with light beacons and weight sensors, caged tipper for refuse removal and a last-mile delivery van with bonded internal racking, walkthrough bulkhead and front jump seat.
The E-Transit customer trials programme follows an earlier 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% of their mileage when in central London.
Further testing in Cologne, Germany helped demonstrate the benefit of an innovative dynamic geofencing technology, which automatically triggered zero-emissions EV Now mode in areas with particularly high air pollution to help improve local air quality in urban areas.