DEARBORN, MI --- Ford Motor Co. on Feb. 9 announced plans to market a pure battery electric-powered light commercial vehicle in North America, based on the all-new Transit Connect global commercial vehicle platform.
"The new Transit Connect light commercial vehicle with battery electric power represents the next logical step in our pursuit of even greater fuel economy and sustainability," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of global product development. "A growing number of our commercial vehicle fleet clients have expressed interest in electrification as a sustainable mobility solution. By leveraging our global team and asset portfolio, we're able to quickly bring this environmentally friendly, strong 'silent type' to market."
The Transit Connect with battery electric power is the initial offering in Ford's new electric vehicle plan to bring pure battery-powered vehicles, hybrids and plug-in hybrids to market. To start, during the next four years, Ford will introduce in North America:
-- The Transit Connect battery electric commercial vehicle in 2010
-- A new battery electric small car in 2011
-- Next-generation hybrid vehicles in 2012
-- Plug-in hybrid versions in 2012.
Ford is working with Smith Electric Vehicles, a leading battery electric upfitter of commercial vehicles, which is part of the U.K.-based Tanfield Group of companies.
Since 1920, Smith has converted tens of thousands of vehicles to battery electric power. In the U.K. and select European markets, Smith already offers battery electric versions of the Ford Transit medium commercial vehicle to fleet customers.
Ford Transit Connect's combination of car-like driving dynamics, cargo capacity, accessibility and low costs of entry and operation make it a logical platform for battery electric power, Ford said. Transit Connect has been designed, engineered and manufactured by Ford of Europe on a dedicated global commercial vehicle platform to beat tough, light commercial vehicle durability standards.
Many commercial users travel predictable, short-range routes, with lots of stop and go in urban and suburban environments. For companies aiming for sustainable mobility solutions, Transit Connect with battery electric power can help them deliver in an environmentally friendly way, Ford said. A range of up to 100 miles makes Transit Connect a useful hauler, with significantly reduced operation and maintenance costs over the long haul.
Numerous federal and regional programs offer incentives for companies to electrify their fleets. Ford Transit Connect with battery electric power will be available in select U.S. Ford dealerships in 2010.