In 'Transit': Ford seeks foothold in commercial electric segment

While Toyota faces flap over hybrid recall, Ford charges forward with new electric vehicle for commercial fleet usage.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

OK, so maybe this isn't such a bad day for electric vehicles after all. The point I was making in my last post was that someone, somewhere was bound to bash hybrids as a result of the Toyota Prius recall.

But, I take back my past headline anyway, because I just received notice from the current electric and hybrid darling, Ford, that they have come out with an electric version of one of their small van models.

The Transit Connect Electric (pictured below) is the first pure electric version of the Ford Connect van, and it is scheduled to go into production in late 2010.

Ford has teamed up with Azure Dynamics, which specializes in hybrid and electric vehicles for commercial usage, to create an electric powertrain (called the Force Drive), which makes this vehicle possible. Ford is hoping to attract commercial fleet operators with the new vehicle, which is intended for short ranges (up to 80 miles) and for top speeds of 75 miles per hour. So, sort of a challenge on a speeding-prone patch of highway. But, the van apparently doesn't skimp on cargo space, which is something you might be wondering about. Both the electric version and the gas-powered version have 135 cubic fee of cargo volume.

Ford says you can actually charge the vehicle with a standard 120V outlet, although it recommends using a 240V charge station. It will take six to eight hours of charging (essentially overnight) for the latter method. The vehicle will actually operate off a 28-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.

No word yet on the sticker price.

Future Ford hybrid or electric plans include three additional electric vehicles due to hit the market by 2012: a Focus Electric (2011), a plug-in hybrid electric (2012) and a next-generation hybrid (2012).

Editorial standards