We got a note here at CleanTechnica’s intergalactic headquarters recently to let us know that E-Transit electric work vans were leaving the factory in Kansas City and are on their way to the 300 business and commercial customers who have ordered more than 10,000 of them. Ford CEO Jim Farley says his company intends on being the Tesla of electric commercial vehicles.
In fact, Ford has invested $100 million to make the its Kansas City assembly plant ready to build the E-Transit and added 150 union workers to help manufacture them. The E-Transit is part of the $30 billion investment Ford is making in electrification between now and the end of 2025.
“Ford Pro is committed to driving businesses forward — from the Transit vans and F-150 trucks assembled right here in America by American workers, to the many businesses it will help grow, to the communities that benefit from the jobs and revenue,” said Tim Baughman, general manager, Ford Pro North America.
By the end of 2023, Ford will have the global capacity to produce 600,000 battery-electric vehicles annually, including more than 200,000 Mustang Mach-Es and 150,000 F-150 Lightning trucks. The company is now working on ways to increase E-Transit production.
The E-Transit is available with Ford’s Pro Power Onboard, a system capable of powering tools and other devices with up to 2.4 kilowatts of power from the vehicle’s battery. It is available in 8 configurations — 3 wheelbase lengths, three roof heights, and both single cab and cutaway cab models. Its dimensions are identical to those of the gas-powered Transit van, which means the multitude of racks and cargo handling systems available for the conventional van will also fit the E-Transit, keeping the cost of configuring the van for individual customers low.
Ford Pro Intelligence subscription services such as Ford Pro E-Telematics can be accessed via the standard 4G LTE modem built into the E-Transit. That service is free for 3 years on E-Transit and is designed to help maximize run time. It can be programmed to precondition the vehicles when they are connected to the grid, allowing drivers to bring the cabin to a desired temperature when still plugged in and save the charge in the battery for use on the road.
John Dodd is one of the UAW workers who transitioned to the E-Transit team. He says, “When asked if I wanted to work on the new E-Transit, I was one of the first to raise my hand and volunteer. I’m ready to see the E-Transit on the roads, to see it make an actual impact on local businesses. The future of Ford is electric and it’s exciting.”
There have been some mutterings on the internet that the E-Transit doesn’t have enough range to meet the needs of commercial customers. However, Ford has coordinated carefully with its customers to build the van they need, not the one the blogosphere wants. It is unlikely Walmart placed an order for 1,100 E-Transits without doing its homework. Will the E-Transit be capable of being converted into a battery-electric camper that can go from the Santa Monica Pier to Provincetown without stopping? No, it won’t. Deal with it!
The point, gentle readers, is that Ford is putting its experience and knowledge to work in order to bring zero emissions driving to an entire segment of the transportation sector that has been largely ignored up until this point. For that, it should be applauded. The consensus around the CleanTechnica breakfast table is, “Well done, Ford!”
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