Ford E-Transit – full official details of new 269hp, 217-mile electric van

  • Electric Ford Transit revealed in full
  • Most powerful van of any kind on sale in the UK
  • Lots of choice, high payload, on sale in 2022

The Ford E-Transit is the first full-production Ford electric van. Announced in 2019, properly revealed in 2020 and on-sale in 2022, it might feel like Ford is way beyond fashionably late for this particular party. But it seems that in taking its time, Ford has been able to build an electric Transit that already has solutions for the typical electric van problems.

Two headline figures jump out from the E-Transit spec – the projected 217-mile driving range and the outrageous 269hp rating for the electric motor. Add to that payload capacity of up 1,616kg for van versions and 1,967kg for the chassis cab models, and it’s clear the Transit electric is set to be a serious player in the electric van market.

As if that wasn’t enough, Ford has also added some extra tricks in the form of a high-tech electric vehicle telematics monitoring system and Pro Power Onboard – the ability to use some of the E-Transit’s battery energy to power tools and equipment.

What is the Ford E-Transit?

The E-Transit is a 100% pure-electric version of the Ford Transit large van. When it goes on sale in Europe in spring 2022 it will be available in 25 different variants spread across panel van, double-cab-in-van (DCiV) and chassis cab.

Ford E-Transit Electric van, front view, driving round corner

There will be a choice of lengths and roof heights, plus gross vehicle mass (GVM, also known as gross vehicle weight or GVW) options up to 4.25 tonnes. Which explains how the E-Transit is able to offer a payload of up to 1,616kg in a van body and 1,967kg as a chassis cab.

With the batteries stored under the body, panel van load volume will be 9-5-15.1 cubic metres, matching the current conventional rear-wheel drive diesel Transit models.

Existing racking designs will be transferable, and plenty of conversion options will be available, just as they are for standard Transits.

Visually, it looks similar to a diesel Transit but with slightly tweaked detailing, including the bold blue elements in the grille. On the inside there's a new rotary gear selector for the single-speed transmission, and an electric parking brake.

How powerful is the Ford E-Transit?

According to Ford, the electric motor’s peak power output is a staggering 198kW – which is equivalent to 269hp.

That is far beyond the maximum power output of any other large van model presently on sale in the UK. For instance, the most powerful Transit diesel model has 185hp, while the best any rival electric large van can do at the moment is 136hp from the Volkswagen e-Crafter (and these aren't yet for sale in right-hand drive, and won't be until at least after the Crafter is facelifted in 2021).

Ford E-Transit Electric van, front view, driving through city

Put this together with 430Nm of instant torque, and the E-Transit is going to have sensational performance. Or perhaps a better way to put it is that it will have performance to spare – which should work out very well for the real-world driving range, if not the lifespan of the tyres!

We joke about that, but we know that Ford had to fine-tune the power delivery of the Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid to reduce excessive wear caused by the instant torque of its much less powerful 126hp electric motor. The Custom is front-wheel drive (FWD) mind you, whereas the E-Transit is rear-wheel drive (RWD) for maximum carrying capacity and traction.

The electric motor is actually mounted under the van at the back, which together with the battery pack means the E-Transit gets bespoke independent rear suspension in place of the old-fashioned (but strong) leaf springs diesel Transits use.

Unsurprisingly, the suspension redesign is said to improve steering precision and deliver better traction no matter to what extent the van is loaded. Considering the Transit is already one of the best large vans to drive, the electric Transit could prove an absolute riot.

What’s the driving range?

We’re a little way off full verification, but Ford says that the projected official driving range of the 67kW battery pack in the E-Transit will be 217 miles per charge. That’s according to WLTP standards, too.

Ford reckons this is considerably more than the daily mileage most Transit vans do in working conditions, but that it deliberately wanted to build-in some additional capacity in case a vehicle is unexpectedly required to carry out a longer journey. And to cover range variations caused by different weather.

Ford E-Transit Electric van, with Mustang Mach-E

Ford has already been torture-testing the battery technology in harsh conditions. The same battery technology will be used in the Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV.

While extra batteries will make the van heavier (reducing payload) and more expensive, we suspect most customers will appreciate this redundancy – the PSA Group is projecting more people will buy the big battery versions of its medium electric vans even though they don’t always need a 200-mile range for exactly the same reason.

What’s more, Ford says the E-Transit’s Eco Mode setting (one of three driving modes) will bring an 8-10% improvement in energy usage – that’s unladen but driven with ‘spirited acceleration’ and a motorway speeds (which typically take chunks out of electric van range). This will work by limiting top speed, acceleration and the climate control. 

On top of this, we strongly believe that having such a powerful motor will help the E-Transit deliver great real-world driving range, simply by virtue of having power to spare. You won’t need to use the motor to the maximum to make decent progress.

At this stage there is no news about any other battery size options, whether smaller and cheaper with a shorter range and higher payload, or larger and more expensive with a larger range but lower payload.

Is it going to take ages to charge?

The E-Transit comes with AC and DC charging. The 11.3kW on-board AC charger can charge the batteries to 100% in 8.2 hours, which means if you plug it in overnight it should be fully ready to go in the morning.

Ford E-Transit Electric van, charging port in front grille

Using DC rapid charging – usually via the public charging network – if you can find a 115kW charger you’ll get a 15% to 80% top up in around 34 minutes.

Will it be expensive to run?

This will partly depend on how you charge it. There are electric vehicle charging tariffs available now that will make replenishing the E-Transit extremely cost-effective – much more so per mile than a diesel model. But if you’re forced to rely on public charging it will work out more expensive.

Still, Ford is suggesting that servicing and maintenance costs should be ‘approximately 40%’ lower for the electric Transit versus a diesel model.

Ford believes it will only need to see the E-Transit only once a year, regardless of mileage, a class-leading service schedule that is supported by a huge amount of pre-launch testing (in order to ensure safety) and the ability of the van to alert owners to pressing problems via its connectivity systems.

The battery pack will be covered by an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

How does the E-Transit payload compare with a diesel Transit?

Extremely well, as it turns out. The most recent diesel Transit data we have reveals that the maximum payload for a panel van at 3.5 tonnes GVM is 1,474kg.

Ford E-Transit Electric van, plugged in to charge

Now, the 1,616kg the E-Transit can carry as a panel van is achieved with a 4.25t GVM, which seems like cheating when the maximum GVM for a standard UK driving licence is now 3.5t.

But there's an exception in UK regulations that allows 4.25t 'alternative fuel' vehicles as if they were 3.5t vehicles. So far only Ford and Fiat (with the E-Ducato) have taken advantage of this.

With nearly 150kg more payload capacity than a diesel Transit that can be driven on an equivalent licence, the E-Transit could prove more cost effective than you think, even if the retail price turns out to be far higher.

And that's before you consider the lower servicing costs, reduced downtime and cheaper cost per mile that the E-Transit offers.

What does the Pro Power Onboard system do?

The Ford E-Transit’s Pro Power Onboard is an optional extra that will allow customers to use up to 2.3kW of the battery pack to power tools and equipment. Which could save you from having to haul a generator around.

Ford E-Transit Electric van, rear view, working with tools

Pro Power Onboard can be used at the job site or while on the move. The Transit Custom PHEV has a similar system.

And the new electric vehicle telematics?

An extension of existing Ford Commercial Solutions services such as Ford Telematics, this is aimed at big fleet operations, and will allow fleet managers to see precisely how efficient (or not) the electric vehicles on fleet are performing – right down to viewing the kWh battery consumption of individual E-Transits.

Ford E-Transit Electric van, dead-on front view

In addition to this, fleet managers will be able to remotely set the climate control pre-conditioning, see the charging speed, the remaining driving range and more – all in real time. There will even be notification options to alert if an electric van hasn’t been plugged in on schedule as well.

For the drivers, perhaps the most important element will be to do with managing payments for charging – both in terms of paying for the transaction at public chargers and reimbursing employees for the cost of charging the E-Transit at home.

Anything else we need to know?

The E-Transit will benefit from the latest Ford Sync 4 infotainment system – which includes a 12.0-inch touchscreen and a whole host of connectivity services.

Ford E-Transit Electric van, cab interior

A lot of this will be familiar from the things you can do with FordPass Pro and Sync 3, but intriguing additional features include real-time driver coaching to improve vehicle efficiency, and therefore driving range.

As you'd expect, there are a large number of safety and driver assistance systems available as well, including 360-degree cameras.

So what happens next?

The next stage for the E-Transit will be a series of customer fleet trials, similar to those undertaken with the Transit Custom PHEV. This should make sure it’s ready for regular customers by the time the 2022 launch date rolls around.

It's built on the same factory line in Turkey as the PHEV as well. The battery cells come from Poland, the battery packs are assembled in Turkey and the e-motor comes from North America.

How much will the Ford E-Transit cost?

Good question. As yet there is no Ford E-Transit price information at all. Given the size of the battery pack and the capability of the drivetrain, we expect it will be towards the higher-end of what current large electric vans cost – which is to say upwards of £60,000 before VAT.

In the UK those rivals are currently limited to the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter and Renault Master ZE – though by the time the E-Transit arrives the VW e-Crafter, the MAN eTGE, the Fiat E-Ducato, the Peugeot e-Boxer, the Citroen e-Relay and the Maxus e-Deliver 9 should also all be on sale.

At the moment, the Ford looks the pick of the bunch, but whether customers will be happy to wait until 2022 remains to be seen.

Also read:

>> The Parkers guide to electric vans

>> Electric vans coming soon

>> The best electric vans you can buy now

>> Our main Ford Transit review