New Ford E-Transit 2022 review
The Ford E-Transit is a game-changer for the electric van market. It’s based on one of the best large vans available, while the combination of a relatively long range, competitive pricing that undercuts its rivals by at least £11,000 and a variety of panel van sizes and conversions mean there should be a model suitable for most needs. The promised technical back-up of the Ford Pro network is just the icing on the cake.
The arrival of the new Ford E-Transit marks a new era for the company. The launch of a new Transit is always an important event in the van world, but this electrified model is Ford’s next step in its electrification plans.
While we’ve seen plenty of rival electric vans already, the E-Transit is aiming to set new standards for what we can expect from these models. Its arrival also marks the launch of Ford Pro, the company’s new approach to van ownership, which offers not just the van, but the software and technical support needed for businesses to keep their fleets on the road.
More on that later, first the E-Transit itself. The electric van takes the diesel model as its starting point, but replaces the engine, gearbox and transmission with electrified running gear. This first component is a motor that’s sourced from the Mustang Mach-E SUV, which can be had with 181bhp or a faintly ridiculous 265bhp (that’s around 20bhp more than a Golf GTI). It’s connected to a 68kWh battery that’s incorporated into the Transit’s sturdy ladder frame chassis, while the space under the bonnet is taken up by the electronics that control the drivetrain and other on-board systems.
The E-Transit has a claimed maximum range of 196 miles from a fully charged battery, while a 115kW power system means the pack can be returned to 80 per cent capacity in as little as 34 minutes from a powerful enough charger. Charging is via a CCS socket in the nose, below the E-Transit’s large Ford badge in the middle of a grille with chrome blue trim accents.
Adding a battery drivetrain to the Transit has created the best electric van we’ve yet driven. We tried the lower-powered version, and it proved to be quiet and refined, yet the rear-mounted electric motor has enough punch to make the E-Transit feel quick off the line. There’s plenty of power to cope with big payloads, too; our van had a maximum capacity of almost one tonne. Cabin comfort is good, although as with many vans of this size the ride is even better when there’s some payload on board.
There is adaptive energy recuperation, although the system is a little fiddly to use. You can either select drive or press the ‘L’ button in the centre of the rotary drive selector to add more resistance. However, Ford also offers an intermediate level of recuperation if you give the brake pedal a brief press. It doesn’t permanently choose this setting, though, and most drivers will be happy with the two standard levels on offer.
Our only other real gripe with the E-Transit, and it’s a minor one, is the electric parking brake: it would be one less thing to worry about if it activated automatically when selecting Park, rather than having to trigger it manually.
A tall driving position, big mirrors and plenty of cabin storage boost the E-Transit’s everyday appeal, while Ford has a range of options that make it even more attractive. Ford’s latest SYNC4 12-inch touchscreen set-up – as seen in the facelifted Focus – is available as an option (albeit a pricey one), while tech such as adaptive cruise control, climate control and a host of electronic driver aids are offered. There’s also the option to fit a 230-volt three-pin plug socket in the cargo area, running off the main battery – potentially useful for running power tools off-grid.
The new Ford Pro service adds what we think could be another level of user-friendliness to the E-Transit, too. Pro is short for Productivity, and Ford describes it as an ‘end-to-end’ service that helps businesses to manage their fleets. It’s available for firms small or large, whether they’re running electric, diesel or even non-Ford vehicles, and provides support for charging infrastructure and vehicle maintenance.
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