Ford Transit and Transit Custom now come with a new type of key

  • Ford’s new super-tough key designed to withstand tough conditions
  • Battery gets topped up whenever the key is inserted in ignition
  • High-tech key comes with the new 2.0-litre Ford EcoBlue engine

So what, we hear you cry. Well, how many times have you dropped your current key – on to a concrete floor and have it spit its batteries everywhere, or even accidentally submerged it in a cup of tea (or worse)? Ford’s new “super-tough” key is designed to withstand all those trials, and more.

In fact, Ford says it’s designed to last a lifetime…

What’s Ford done to test this new Transit key then?

You name it, Ford’s done it. Presumably in some kind of key Guantanamo. Specifically:

  • Dropped it onto concrete 50 times
  • Submerged it under water for 30 minutes
  • Exposed it to temperatures ranging from 60 degrees to -20 degrees C, and 100 percent humidity
  • Subjected it to five hours surrounded by “fine, penetrating dust”
  • Left it in contact with chemicals including diesel, petrol, ethanol, detergents and sweat for 96 hours

We’re particularly intrigued by the “pocket simulation” test, which involved vibrating it for four hours non-stop whilst in close proximity with coins and keys. Oh, and the “button test”, which involved 10 button presses at 12 times the usual force – you know, for those occasions when Bert thinks it would be funny to try and activate your keyfob with his hammer.

Perhaps more usefully, there was also an endurance test comprising 100,000 activations - simulating more use than most vans will see in a lifetime.

How has Ford made the new Transit key so tough?

It looks pretty normal, with a regular set of buttons and the familiar blade-style metal key that pops out when you press a button. But the two halves of the housing are “friction welded” together, permanently sealing them to ensure it remains completely waterproof.

Begs the obvious question…

How do you change the batteries?

You don’t. There’s a rechargeable cell inside that gets topped up whenever you insert the super-tough key into the ignition. Ford hasn’t said whether the battery life is as good as the case it comes in. Nor how much the new key costs to replace when the inevitable happens.

Which is to say, when you lose it.

We’ve asked the question, though, and will update this article with the price once we’ve been given it.

The new key comes with the new Ford EcoBlue engine, a brand spanking 2.0-litre diesel unit that brings the Ford Transit and Transit Custom up to Euro 6 emissions levels. We’ll be testing the new engine later in September 2016, and now it seems we’ll be trying to break Ford’s new unbreakable key as well…