Ford is undertaking trials of its all-electric E-Transit with major European fleet customers before the van becomes widely available spring 2022. Fleets chosen for the Intensive real-world trial include operators in the postal, municipal and utilities sectors, as well as firms operating in the last mile and grocery delivery arenas.
Ten E-Transit prototypes are currently being fleet-assessed in Germany, Norway and the U.K. Among the trial partners are:
- Waste disposal company AWB;
- Construction firm Balfour Beatty;
- the City of Cologne municipal fleet;
- DHL Express delivery firm in the UK;
- Parcel deliver company DPD;
- Norwegian Post;
- Online grocer Ocado; and
- Recover Nordic, a damage control and environmental services company.
The fleet trials, which are being undertaken over a six- to 12-month period, include the panel van, but also variants such as chassis cab conversions with box van, refrigerated box, tipper and dropside bodies. Gross vehicle masses range from 3.5 to 4.25 tonnes.
Dave Petts, Ford of Europe’s market lead on urban electrified vans, said:
“We want to demonstrate that helping customers reduce their environmental impact can go hand-in-hand with improving their productivity.
“Real-world mileage in customer hands helps us to show the business benefits that E-Transit can deliver, as well as providing valuable feedback on usage patterns and charging behaviour so that we can refine the operating experience. We firmly believe in treating our customers like family, and this programme highlights the value we place on those close partnerships.”
Ford undertook a similar program prior to the introduction of its PHEV Transit Custom. In partnership with Transport for London, the local government body responsible for transport in the London area, featured a 12-month trial of 20 new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Transit Custom vans. The trial was later extended to Cologne, Germany, to examine the benefits of geofencing technology to ensure zero emission running in clean air zones.
Among the specialised conversions, carried out by the Ford-approved Qualified Vehicle Modifier network of body builders, are a refrigerated box body for grocery delivery, powered by 2.3kW ProPower Onboard system; a dropside body for construction with light beacons and weight sensors; a caged tipper for refuse removal; a last-mile delivery box body with walkthrough bulkhead and rear air suspension; and a last-mile delivery van with bonded internal racking, walkthrough bulkhead and front jump seat.
Check out this video of the prototype Ford E-Transit being built at Ford’s Dunton, U.K. facility.