Fully electric Ford E-Transit Custom revealed ahead of going on sale in 2023

  • All we know so far about new Ford Transit Custom launching in 2023
  • E-Transit Custom confirmed with promised range of up to 236 miles
  • Diesel, mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid models will continue

The fully electric Ford Transit Custom has been officially revealed for the first time. The Ford E-Transit Custom is set to be the brand’s second electric van, and is set to go into production in the second half of 2023.

Ford has confirmed that it is targeting an official range of 236 miles, which is a step up from the E-Transit’s official range of 196 miles. This is an unofficial range as of now, though, and it may change as was the case with the E-Transit, as that 196-mile range was a reduction from the originally predicted 217 miles.

The announcement marks a significant step for UK van drivers, as the Transit Custom is the country’s best-selling van and best-selling individual model overall. It follows the full-sized Transit in offering a battery-powered model and the launch is part of a bigger plan to launch four electric commercial vehicles by 2024. This will see the Transit Courier van and the Tourneo Custom and Tourneo Courier also get electric models.

By 2030, Ford expects two-thirds of all its commercial vehicles sales to be all-electric or plug-in hybrid.

Because of Ford’s partnership with Volkswagen, the 2023 Ford Transit Custom will also form the basis of the next-generation VW Transporter. It will also lead to a new Ford Tourneo Custom passenger vehicle.

Ford E-Transit Custom driving

What do we know about the full new Ford Transit Custom range so far?

Ford has now shown the first images of the E-Transit Custom, complete with a few details on the range and its timings. It has confirmed that the electric model will exist alongside all the powertrains currently offered, and not in replacement of them. The E-Transit Custom is the first and only version to have been revealed so far, though.

The initial pictures show a drastically restyled front end with a grille that no longer features the horizontal bars of the current model. Instead, it gets a floating honeycomb style design, with sleeker full-LED headlights and a light bar running across the base of the bonnet. Initial information suggests that the cab doors are large and the seating position has been altered versus the outgoing model. The roof and step-in height have been lowered, too, which may have an impact on overall capacity.

Ford E-Transit Custom front

Ford has also confirmed that the new E-Transit Custom will feature ProPower technology, which brings the ability to export some of its electricity to power tools, lights and other devices while out on site and away from mains sockets. This is no major surprise as the bigger Transit is able to do the same.

It will also come with fast DC charging ability and a full towing capability, although Ford hasn’t said what sort of weight that ‘full capability’ will amount to. It also promises ‘sophisticated connectivity’ to enable ‘always-on relationships.’

The news of an E-Transit Custom (as we expect the new model will be called, following on from its E-Transit big brother, which goes on sale in 2022) originally came just a few weeks after Ford’s announcement in February 2021 that all of its commercial vehicles will be ‘zero-emissions capable’ by 2024.

Ford E-Transit Custom side-on

Presently, the only truly electrified version of the Transit Custom is the Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) – though you can also get mild hybrid diesel engines, these aren’t capable of driving on electric power alone.

Where will the new Transit Custom be made?

The 2023 Transit Custom will continued to be built by Ford Otosan – Ford’s joint-venture operation in Turkey – in Kocaeli, which it describes as ‘the home of the Ford Transit range’. It’s been the ‘global lead’ production centre for Transit models since 2004, accounting for around 85% of Transit family vehicle production since.

It’s also an extremely efficient, cost-effective production facility for Ford, and will only become more so when it starts building VW Transporters (based on the same technology) as well.

This should be good news for buyers, as the cheaper Ford (and VW) can build the vans, the more competitive the retail pricing should be. Something that’s becoming more and more important as we expect more and more technology and safety equipment included.

Ford E-Transit Custom rear

In December 2020, Ford Otosan announced a 2 billion Euro investment into Kocaeli, which will turn it into Turkey’s ‘first and only integrated production centre for the assembly of electric vehicles and batteries.’ Around 3,000 people will ultimately be employed there.

But while Turkey grabs the headlines here, development of new Ford commercial vehicles is still heavily dependent on work in Dagenham in the UK, where the diesel engines are produced – as well as Cologne in Germany, which produces transmissions.

Any info on the new Ford Transit Custom diesel?

All Ford has said so far is that the new Transit Custom will get ‘advanced technology diesel engines’, and that these will be produced in Dagenham, just as the current 2.0-litre EcoBlue engines are now.

By 2025, the plant in Turkey is expected to take around 60% of all the engines produced at Dagenham just for the new ‘1.0-tonne’ vans (we don’t yet know if this will include the Transporter, which may use VW engines), meaning the Transit still plays a big part in securing British jobs. Presently around 7,500 people are employed in the Ford engine factory.

Ford E-Transit Custom at work

What’s more, with an enormous 30% of all the Transits produced in Turkey typically returning to the UK, the business between Ford and Ford Otosan accounts for ‘more than 10% of the total trade volume between the UK and Turkey.’ Blimey.

What’s this about Ford building Volkswagens?

This is all part of ‘Project Cyclone’ – a strategic alliance between Ford and Volkswagen to share the cost of development and production in many areas but particularly commercial vehicles.

Ford says the tie-up will also ‘enhance the customer experience by bringing more technologies to market, faster.’

The first fruit of the Ford-VW alliance will be the new Transit Connect, which will be based on the VW Caddy Cargo and is set to be unveiled in 2021; then in 2022 the new Ford Ranger and new VW Amarok are expected to appear – with Ford leading the development on these and the larger vans.

What’s Ford saying about the new Transit Custom?

Ford of Europe president, Stuart Rowley, made this statement as part of the announcement: ‘The next-generation Transit Custom range – including the all-electric versions – will strengthen Ford’s position as Europe’s number one commercial vehicle brand.’

Hans Schep, general manager, Ford Pro, added: ‘This is a watershed moment for commercial vehicle operators in Europe, and another hugely significant realisation of our Ford Pro ambitions. Europe’s best-selling van just went all-electric and – supported by our unique Ford Pro one-stop-shop of productivity-boosting services – the operating benefits this will bring to business across Europe cannot be overstated.

We’ll bring you more details about the next-gen Ford Transit Custom as soon as we have them, with more information expected in September.