Ford Motor Co. is launching an electric version of its Transit cargo van late next year.
The automaker is pushing into battery-electric vehicles up and down its line, readying electric variants of two flagships, the F-150 pickup truck and the Mustang.
“The transition of fleet vehicles to zero emissions, especially for the fast-growing last-mile delivery segment, is critical to achieve our carbon neutrality goal by 2050,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s chief executive. “This is good for the planet and a huge advantage for customers to help lower their operating costs and provide connected fleet management technologies that will help their businesses.”
Commercial vehicles look to be a prime area for growth globally as e-commerce builds and cities look for ways to reduce noise and pollution. Multiple European cities are planning to ban vehicles with internal combustion engines.
The 2021 E-Transit, which will go on sale next year, will have a starting price in the U.S. under $45,000, Ford said Thursday. It will have the same cargo space of the current model, Ford said.
The automaker plans eight different configurations of the van and each will have different performance characteristics. But the baseline low roof E-Transit will have an estimated driving range of 126 miles. Ford also plans a choice of three roof heights and three lengths, plus chassis cab and cutaway models.
Other features include a connected technology for fleet management and telematics services. It will have an onboard power system that provides up to 2.4 kilowatts of available power to help customers use and recharge job site tools.
The electric powertrain will offer up to 266 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque.
Ford won’t be alone in the market. Mercedes-Benz offers an electric version of its Sprinter van in Europe and has said it is considering bringing it to the U.S.
Rivian, an electric vehicle startup, is providing Amazon with 100,000 delivery vans over the next several years. Ford is an investor in Rivian. Bollinger Motors, another startup, is developing an electric commercial vehicle.
Environmental regulations, corporate sustainability and image strategies and operational cost advantages are pushing global growth in the electric commercial vehicle market.
Market research firm Interact Analysis estimates that global sales for electric commercial vehicles will reach 231,000 units in 2021, which it called “a stunning 47% growth for the sector.”
The gain results from growth in Europe and North America, helped by the extension of China’s EV subsidy program, Interact Analysis said in a report issued Thursday.
The firm forecasts that electrified powertrains – hybrid, fuel cell and battery electric – will account for over 2.5 million annual registrations of commercial vehicles by 2030, out of a total of over 20 million.
“Battery electric powertrains are predicted to make serious inroads in the city bus and light-duty vehicle sectors, notably last-mile delivery vehicles, reflecting the anticipated lasting boom in online-shopping caused by the pandemic,” Interact Analysis said.