Ford E-Transit put through ‘torture tests’ to simulate life of hard use

Ford’s all-electric E-Transit van has been put through a punishing testing regime to recreate the effects of a lifetime of intensive customer use.

The testing saw the E-Transit complete 10 years’ worth of hard work in just 12 weeks. The vehicle was subjected to extreme heat, cold and altitude in Ford’s Environmental Test Chamber in Cologne, Germany, and other areas were tested in the United States and Belgium. Separate E-Transit testing is being conducted at the Dunton Technical Centre in Essex.

The tests were supposed to replicate the effects of 150,000 miles of driving, similar to a decade of wear and tear, for customers operating in the most arduous situations.

Andrew Mottram, chief programme engineer E-Transit, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe, said: “We test all our vans in conditions above and beyond anything they are likely to face in the hands of customers.

“The all-electric E-Transit is no different – by pushing it to the limit in our controlled test environments, we can be confident that it will reliably serve our customers as they switch to all-electric power for their businesses.”

Ford’s Environmental Test Chamber can recreate conditions from the Sahara to Siberia. Engineers refined the all-electric powertrain and cabin environment for performance and efficiency by subjecting E‑Transit to over 40 degrees Celsius – hotter than the average desert – for two weeks using 28 spotlights with 4,000-watt bulbs. E-Transit’s battery pack features liquid-cooling technology for optimum performance in extreme weather.

The van also had to prove it could function at -35 degrees Celsius – colder than a typical Siberian winter – and with a full load making the punishing climb to 2,500 metres, as high as Austria’s Grossglockner High Alpine Road, one of the highest paved roads in Europe.

Thousands of passes over dedicated tracks of bumps, potholes and cobbles were performed at Ford’s Lommel facility, simulating cobbled streets, rough back roads and challenging un-made tracks from around the world.

Durability of the E-Transit’s battery pack, electric motor and unique rear suspension were tested by repeatedly driving the new model through mud and salt baths and through saltwater sprays, simulating winter roads and fords as well as testing the components’ corrosion resistance. The electric motor’s reliability was proven by running it continuously for 125 days.

The E-Transit will also be tested through extensive customer trials in the supermarket, utility and last-mile delivery sectors beginning later this year.

The E-Transit is part of a major $30 billion investment by Ford into electrified vehicles by 2025. The company has stated its European commercial vehicle range will be 100% zero-emission capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2024, with two-thirds of commercial vehicle sales expected to be all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.

The Ford E-Transit will make its public UK debut on the Ford stand at this year’s CV Show, confirmed for 31st August 2021.

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