The Transit Connect represents a new entry into a vacant commercial market in the US, and as such Ford is planning on entering with both barrels blazing. Aside from the standard gas engine Transit Connect, Ford is planning to introduce two varieties of all-electric Transit available in the second half of 2010. Since most commercial market buyers know the daily range of their vehicles they’ll be able to buy for their targeted range, the entry level version will come with a 60 mile lithium ion battery and the buyer can opt for a 100 mile if their application calls for it. The commercial entry for EV makes a lot of sense when you consider the vehicles will be under the most severe duty cycles as well as closely monitored by fleet operators, it makes collecting field data an engineers dream.
The standard 2.0L four cylinder gas engine is replaced by a 50 kW electric motor. Together, these systems yield an expected range of about 100 miles on a charge and a top speed of 70 mph. The Ampere also has a payload capacity of 1,764 lbs. With that kind of payload, even a likely real world range that is considerably less than 100 miles shouldn’t do much to dampen the utility of such a vehicle for a lot of customers. At least at first the Transit Connect EV will only be offered to commercial operators. The rest of us will have to wait another year for the Focus-based EV.
With a unique combination of car-like driving dynamics, cargo capacity, accessibility and low purchase and operation costs, the Transit Connect is an ideal choice for electrification.
The Transit Connect Electric is expected to offer lower cost of operation, because recharging with electricity is generally less expensive than refueling with gasoline. Users may also benefit from much lower maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle. Consider the following:
- The number of components typical in an internal combustion engine and transmission are dramatically reduced in an electric vehicle to just a few moving parts in the electric motor and transaxle, which results in much fewer parts to wear out or maintain
- Electric powertrains operate with solid state electronics, which have demonstrated low or no maintenance over the life of the product
- Electric vehicles have completely sealed cooling systems that do not require refilling, replacement or flushing
- Electric vehicles require no oil changes or tune-ups
- There are no belts to wear out or break and no spark plugs or injectors to clean or adjust
- There is no exhaust system to replace and no liquid fuel system to freeze or clog
- The use of regenerative braking reduces wear and tear on brake pads
According to Tanfield Group, it will continue to work with Ford of Europe on electric vehicles, including an all-electric Transit platform marketed as the Smith Edison.