Ford Pro E-Transit
The E-Transit takes the template of Ford’s hugely successful and globally recognised LCV, and turns it into a zero emissions vehicle aimed at fleets looking for lower running costs. Richard Gooding drives the current GREENFLEET Vehicle of the Year and discovers both it and its new connected ecosystem carries electric van standards forward
What is it?
Now entering its 58th year of production, the Ford Transit needs no introduction. Adapting for changing market trends over the past six decades and Europe’s best-selling light commercial vehicle for 40 years, the first zero-emissions version of Ford’s hugely successful LCV arrived in 2022.
It may have been a little late to the electric van party, but the E-Transit is the UK’s best-selling electric van in the two-tonne segment, with over 1,750 orders received in 2022. Those orders have come from delivery and distribution, supermarket and hire customers including DPD, DHL, Ocado and Speedy. The new electric Ford is also the current GREENFLEET Vehicle of the Year, one of 11 UK awards it received in 2022.
How practical is it?
The E-Transit comes in three versions. The standard panel van is available in three lengths – L2 (5,531mm), L3 (5,981mm) and L4 (6,707mm) – and two heights, H2 (2,447-2,534mm) and H3 (2,682-2,769mm). The maximum gross payload is between 809kg and 1,711kg, while maximum load volume is between 9.5m3 and 15.1m3.
The double-cab-in-van is only available in L3 guise, but with the same choice of roof heights as the panel van and a gross maximum load volume of 7.2m3. The chassis cab has a choice of L3 and L4 lengths, and a maximum gross payload of 2,090kg. Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) weights across the range vary from 3.25 tonnes to 4.25 tonnes, with wheelbase lengths of 3,300mm (L2) and 3,750mm (L3 and L4). In total, the E-Transit family numbers 25 models.
As with many other electric light commercials, the E-Transit’s battery pack is mounted under the floor, so as not to impede on cargo carrying capacity and load volume. Boosting practicality, optional features include the availability of dual side loading doors, wide opening rear cargo doors with magnetic door retention (instead of 180-degree openings), as well as a whole host of bulkhead and load compartment configurations.
What range does it have?
Commercial vehicle fleet operators who choose the E-Transit have a choice of 135kW (181bhp) or 198kW (265bhp) motors, but all versions use the same Ford 65kWh lithium-ion battery pack. For the L3 H2 350 van tested, Ford quotes a WLTP combined single charge driving distance of up to 156 miles. This increases to up to 189 miles for the L3 H2 425 198kW E-Transit, falling to 148 miles for the L4 H3 350 variant.
How long does it take to charge?
All electric Transits support 115kW DC fast charging and an 11.3kW on-board charger is fitted as standard. A 15-80 per cent battery refill takes around 35 minutes, with a 0-100 per cent 230V, 32A connection taking just under 12 hours. One very useful feature of the Ford E-Transit is an optional 2.3kW Ford Pro Power on-board power source which allows tools to be used without the need for an on-site generator.
How does it drive?
There’s very little to tell the E-Transit apart from ICE versions of Ford’s popular LCV. On the outside, changes are limited to badges and blue lines in the grille, which also houses the charge port. Inside, the changes are even harder to spot, with only a rotary gear selector and battery level and power instrument gauges giving the game away. That’s no bad thing, though, as the Transit’s cabin has always been practical with lots of storage options as well as three-abreast seating.
All E-Transits have a 12-inch colour infotainment display featuring Ford’s new Sync 4 operating system and an integrated suite of Ford Pro solutions (see ‘Connected Commercials’ panel) and a FordPass Connect modem to optimise efficiency and help operators manage their fleets. It’s a neat set-up and works well. While not ideal, the three – ‘Eco’, ‘Normal’, and ‘Slippery’ – driving modes are controlled from the screen, allowing the driver to tailor the on-road experience in line with road or surface conditions.
On the road, the E-Transit doesn’t struggle to put down its power, the 318lb ft (430Nm) of torque getting the e-LCV up to speed with little fuss. As with the E-Transit’s smaller Transit Custom PHEV sister, when compared to a diesel van, the hugely improved refinement and lack of noise are welcome elements that are immediately noticeable. Handling is more enjoyable, too, as the Mustang Mach-E-sourced rear-mounted motor introduces independent rear suspension for more car-like responses and comfort, and the all-round driving experience of the E-Transit elevates it above its ICE siblings.
Two levels of regenerative braking are standard, with the more aggressive setting chosen by a press of the ‘L’ button on the gear selector.
What does it cost?
The UK government’s Plug-In Van Grant (PIVG) will contribute up to 35 per cent of the purchase price on electric Transits, up to a maximum of £5,000. The Ford E-Transit family starts at £48,650.83 ‘on-the-road’ excluding VAT and PIVG for the Leader L2 H2 350 panel van. A heated windscreen, air conditioning, keyless start and a metal bulkhead are all standard.
Move up to £51,840.83 (L2 H2 350) Trend trim as tested here, and you’ll gain automatic wipers, cruise control, a comprehensive suite of driving and safety aids, front and rear parking sensors, as well as a moulded cargo floor liner.
Why does my fleet need one?
The clever trick the Ford Pro E-Transit manages to pull off is to take the multi-award-winning and successful template from the ICE Transit, and just make it better. There’s all the functionality, practicality and versatility you’ve come to know and expect, along with improved usability and refinement that a zero emissions vehicle provides.
Arriving at a time following the recently enlarged London Ultra Low Emission Zone and ahead of imminent Clean Air Zones in other major UK cities, the E-Transit is aimed squarely at fleets who prioritise minimum downtime as well as ease of use. Enjoyable to drive and operate, the trusted and well-respected LCV now has another string to its bow, setting the template for the imminent Ford e-LCVs to come. The Ford Pro connected offering also gives fleet operators extra peace of mind, aligning with that of the vehicle itself.
Model driven: Ford Pro E-Transit Trend L3 H2 350