Electric vans: Ford to launch its E-Transit Custom next year


Ford has today revealed an electric version of the nation’s best-selling vehicle – and it’s not a car.

The all-new E-Transit Custom van is due to be on sale by the end of next year and will offer businesses a greener commercial vehicle alternative to petrol and diesel with a battery range of 236 miles on a single charge.

But it won’t be cheap. 

It is expected to be priced from around £40,000 – a significant mark-up on the cheapest version on sale today, which starts from £26,145 excluding VAT.

Britain’s best-selling vehicle to go electric: Ford’s Transit Custom has been the most-registered motor in the country since the pandemic hit. A new all-electric version is due late next year

The E-Transit Custom is one of five all-electric vans with blue-oval badges on sale by 2024, according to ‘Ford Pro’ – the brand’s new dedicated division to look after its commercial vehicle and services operations.

It will be built at the Kocaeli factory in Turkey from the second half of 2023 alongside an electric version of the next-generation Volkswagen Transporter, following an agreement between the two major motor firms to share platforms for their commercial vehicles and electric cars.

Ford expects the first E-Transit Customs to arrive in the UK before the end of next year, though a spokesperson says it could be early 2024. 

When it does hit the market, it will continue to be sold alongside combustion engine and hybrid versions of the supremely popular medium-size van, which has been the nation’s best-selling motor ever since the pandemic sparked increased demand for delivery services.

Some 53,394 Transit Customs were registered in the UK in 2021, which was 12,000 more than the best-selling car – the Vauxhall Corsa.

Already this year (up to the end of April) some 17,190 new examples of the Ford van entered the road compared to 12,799 Corsas, which continues to be the nation’s favourite passenger car.

Ford says the new E-Transit Custom has a 'no-compromise all-electric architecture' suitable for businesses up and down the country to 'effortlessly make the change to electrified vehicles'

Ford says the new E-Transit Custom has a ‘no-compromise all-electric architecture’ suitable for businesses up and down the country to ‘effortlessly make the change to electrified vehicles’

These are the top 10 best-selling vans and pick-ups so far in 2022 (up to April). Some 17,190 Transit Customs have been registered

This table shows the top 10 order for passenger cars, with the Vauxhall Corsa top. However, it is almost 4,400 units behind the Ford van

Already this year (up to the end of April) some 17,190 new Ford Transit Customs have entered the road compared to 12,799 Vauxhall Corsas, which is Britain’s most bought car of 2022 so far

Yet, Ford could have a tough job on its hands trying to convince businesses to consider an all-electric Transit over a new combustion-engined variant, with the battery version likely to cost up to £14,000 more than the existing entry-spec oil burner – that’s a 52 per  cent increase in price.

However, the brand defiantly says the new E-Transit Custom has a ‘no-compromise all-electric architecture’ suitable for companies, small business operators and workmen and women up and down the country to ‘effortlessly make the change to electrified vehicles’.

This claim is based on the van’s ‘targeted’ full-charge driving range of up to 236 miles.

Latest government data estimates that the average annual van mileage in Britain is around 13,000 miles, based on stats for April 2019 to March 2020. Divided by 52. that approximately 250 miles, meaning the average E-Transit Custom driver could – in theory – get by on one full charge and a quick battery top-up each week. 

The all-new E-Transit Custom van is due to be on sale by the end of next year and will offer businesses a greener commercial vehicle alternative to petrol and diesel with a battery range of 236 miles on a single charge

The E-Transit Custom won't be cheap. It is expected to be priced from around £40,000 - a significant mark-up on the cheapest version on sale today, which starts from £26,145

The E-Transit Custom won’t be cheap. It is expected to be priced from around £40,000 – a significant mark-up on the cheapest version on sale today, which starts from £26,145

The battery will also be capable of DC fast-charging – though Ford hasn’t yet confirmed the size of the battery unit of how quickly it charges.

Though it has confirmed that the electric powertrain will allow for ‘full towing capability’ of up to two tonnes. 

One handy feature it has is Ford’s ‘Pro Power’ system, which allows users to plug power tools – or a kettle for a mid-day tea break – into a 2.3kW socket in the back that supplies electricity directly from the battery. 

It will even alert the driver if they are getting dangerously close to reducing the battery’s range lower than what’s needed to get home without having to stop to charge – the last thing you want after a hard day’s graft.

The feature will sound the horn and flash the lights to raise the attention of the driver even if they’re operating a circular saw on a noisy construction site.

One feature it boasts is Ford's 'Pro Power' system, which allows users to plug power tools into a 2.3kW socket in the back that supplies electricity directly from the battery

One feature it boasts is Ford’s ‘Pro Power’ system, which allows users to plug power tools into a 2.3kW socket in the back that supplies electricity directly from the battery

It will even alert the driver if they are getting dangerously close to reducing the battery's range lower than what's needed to get home without having to stop to charge

It will even alert the driver if they are getting dangerously close to reducing the battery’s range lower than what’s needed to get home without having to stop to charge

Speaking at the electric van’s unveiling on Monday, Hans Schep, general manager for Ford Pro, said: ‘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.’

Further details – likely including an on-sale date – will be released in September, Schep says.

The new Transit Custom will fresh looks. The front-end shares the same hexagonal grille and slim headlights that are already used on the Fiesta and Focus

The new Transit Custom will fresh looks. The front-end shares the same hexagonal grille and slim headlights that are already used on the Fiesta and Focus

Ford has promised five all-electric vans by 2024, including the larger E-Transit, which started production in March

Ford has promised five all-electric vans by 2024, including the larger E-Transit, which started production in March

When it does arrive, it will join the larger E-Transit that began production in March will be priced from £47,700 (excl VAT).

The bigger model provides a shorter full-charge driving range of up to 197 miles from a 68kWh battery, which is likely to be the same one used for the E-Transit Custom.

Unlike the larger van, the E-Transit Custom will debut all-new looks.

The front-end shares the same hexagonal grille and slim headlights that are already used on the Fiesta, Focus and Tourneo Connect passenger vehicles. 

The charging point has been integrated on the front right-hand side of the van to it can easily be connected to a device when the driven into a parking bay with charging facilities.

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