Ford Europe has launched the E-Transit Custom, an all electric version of the continent’s best selling van variant.

Its battery technology enables a targeted range of 236 miles and 125kW fast charging ability.

The model has digital technology for multi-drop deliveries, and cab and load compartment access. The cab is also a business hub with 5G connectivity and a flexible workspace including an optional steering wheel which folds to become an ergonomic holder for laptops and tablets.

The van can carry payloads up to 1,100kg, has a lower load floor for easier access, and maximum towing capacity of 2,000kg plus independent rear suspension and claimed class leading motor power.

The new line supplements the electric E-Transit, which has now sold more than 8,300 units, and is one of four new Ford Pro electric commercial vehicles coming to Europe by 2024. Like other European market Ford vans, the E-Transit Custom will be built by Ford Otosan in Kocaeli, Turkey, and is due to start production in autumn 2023.

Ford said the E-Transit Custom EV powertrain was designed to help small businesses and independent tradespeople, who previously relied on diesel engines to support their business needs, to make the switch to electric.

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Pouch cells

The 400 volt, 74kWh useable battery pack uses 82Ah pouch cells shared with the US market F-150 Lightning to deliver 12% more energy density than the E‑Transit. The battery enables that “targeted” range of up to 236 miles which the automaker reckons is over four times the average one-tonne van driver’s daily mileage, citing Ford Pro customer data.

The battery’s direct to body mounting improves durability and reduces weight for optimum range.

Customers can choose from 100kW or 160kW (135PS or 217PS) motor power outputs, each offering a claimed class-leading 415Nm of torque. The drive motor is fitted directly to the vehicle’s rear floor, removing the need for a dedicated subframe, and is rotated 90 degrees to maximise loadspace and reduce weight and complexity.

Tailored features of the Ford Pro E‑Telematics 6 – complimentary for one year – use live data to help operators monitor the location, efficiency and health of their vehicles for maximum productivity. The software also supports optimised charging strategies with EV-specific insights such as charging status, state of charge, and remaining range with customisable Low Range alert thresholds. Owners can also programme the battery and cab to be warmed or cooled before work with Scheduled Pre‑Conditioning to conserve energy for optimum range.

New heat pump tech

Ford claims the E-Transit Custom is the first EV to use vapour-injected heat pump technology to heat and cool the cabin, fitted as standard to all vehicles. This new system is designed to deliver improved energy efficiency for optimum driving range.

The van also features an energy-efficient braking system with one-pedal drive capability. The system blends friction braking with regenerative braking that harvests energy during deceleration to top up the battery for extra driving range. Drivers can stop the van without using the brake pedal when in one-pedal drive mode. Other available drive modes provide less deceleration to suit other driving scenarios. The system is designed to use the friction brakes frequently enough to prevent the discs from rusting or pitting.

The 11kW AC three-phase onboard charger is capable of fully recharging the battery in 7.8 hours, so operators will be able recharge overnight after a shift. During busy days, they can track current charge state using a smartphone app.

The new commercial EV also supports DC fast charging up to 125kW for a 15-80% recharge in 41 minutes. A new charge profile front-loads the energy to enable quick, useful top-ups; in lab testing, the system delivered almost 24 miles of range in just five minutes using a 125kW charger.

Charging network access

Owners can access the Blue Oval Charging Network – claimed to be Europe’s largest, with over 300,000 chargers and growing – and every van is sold with a 12-month complimentary subscription to access public charging via that network.

Thirty separate modules are capable of receiving remote updates. These can help improve vehicle performance, deliver quality upgrades, update existing features and add all-new functions and capabilities. Most updates are completed in under two minutes and can be scheduled to avoid downtime. An eight-year, 100,000 miles warranty covers all high-voltage components.

The tilting steering wheel is part of a Mobile Office option pack and is capable of becoming an ergonomic stand for tablets and laptops as well as a flat-topped table. The pack also includes dimmable LED lighting to illuminate the tilted steering wheel area, an additional dome light in the roof and storage between the seats for documents and devices.

Delivery Assist helps streamline every delivery by automating some of the process to help save time and improve security. When enabled, Delivery Assist activates when the driver shifts into park. The van will automatically switch on its hazard lights, close any open windows, and lock the door once the driver leaves the van. When returning, the driver can keylessly enter and start the vehicle. The hazard lights will switch off and the windows will return to their previous position.

Digital Key is designed to simplify complex key management, and functions like a hotel keycard. Operators can remotely assign and track keys to people and vehicles rather than spending time and money duplicating, managing and replacing keys.

Shared with the larger E-Transit, ProPower Onboard is available to deliver up to 2.3kW through sockets in the cab and load area to power tools, lights and devices using the vehicle’s high-voltage battery.

Security systems can be linked to the SecuriAlert feature in FordPass Pro. This provides a notification if it detects someone trying to access the vehicle, and also enables the user to lock or unlock doors remotely.

The vehicle’s load floor is lower than the outgoing model, to make loading cargo and accessing the cab easier. Engineers comprehensively analysed packaging, materials, safety and weight to deliver an architecture that integrates the battery into the load floor above the sill flange, eliminating the need for separate crash structures. Other underbody components are ‘shrink-wrapped’ around the battery for optimum space and weight efficiency.

Height reduced

Overall height is now under two metres to help access in height restricted areas such as multistorey car parks, garages, and underground loading bays. A claimed class‑leading side load door aperture enhances loading, and a new access step makes climbing up to the load compartment even easier.

The new EV van line offers load volume from 5.8 to 9.0m3, with payload up to 1,100kg and a maximum load length of 3,450mm. Double cab in van and kombi body styles are also available, all with a choice of short or long wheelbase and low or high roof. Owners who want to carry up to five occupants as well as longer items like pipe, planks or kayaks can specify the new L-Shaped Bulkhead, with a two seat second row as well as a full length cargo area with composite bulkhead. This claimed segment unique factory design removes the need for customers to customise vans themselves if they need to carry passengers and lengthy cargo.

Standard driver assistance systems include Pre-Collision Assist, Lane-Keeping System, Driver Alert, Cruise Control with Adjustable Speed Limiter, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Assist, Wrong Way Alert, front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree camera.

Every E-Transit Custom has a 13‑inch landscape touchscreen angled towards the driver as standard, equipped with the SYNC 4 communication and infotainment system powered by a new 5G modem.

Grains on materials used in the cabin and load area are designed to use textures that avoid trapping dirt and water, giving the best balance between offering a firm footing for wet or muddy boots and enabling heavy items to be slid in and out easily.

As van drivers often occupy the cabin alone, the heating and ventilation system has a new Driver Focus Mode option that uses sensors to direct airflow only to occupied seats. An intelligent windscreen, first introduced on the Kuga SUV, monitors temperature and humidity, and automatically makes small heat and airflow changes to proactively keep the windscreen clear for improved efficiency and ease of use.

Ford Pro anticipates that E-Transit Custom will deliver lower operating costs compared to an equivalent diesel vehicle; for E-Transit, the reduction in servicing cost of ownership can be as much as 40%.

Ford Otosan will build the Transit Custom variants in a new plant on the company’s Yenikoy site, part of a previously announced EUR2bn facilities investment.