Ford Motor Co.’s 2022 E-Transit van might not seem very impressive to the typical vehicle shopper.
The company is asking buyers to pay over $10,000 in premium for the gasoline-powered model to get an estimated 126 miles of range. This is a third of what some of the latest EVs promise.
However, company officials say that for the commercial customers that Ford is targeting with the E-Transit, the price and range makes sense.
“There’s a difference between retail and fleet customers,” said Ted Cannis, general manager of Ford’s North American commercial business, to Automotive News. “In the retail world, you buy everything on a might — ‘I might drive 300 miles to visit my parents in Chicago,’ or ‘I might buy a three-row because one time we traveled with another family and their kids.’ In the commercial world, everything is for a specific use case. They never buy more than they need.”
Ford’s telematics data shows that commercial businesses use their vehicles for 74 miles a day on average. This is well within the E-Transit’s range and accounts for cold weather and even heavy cargo loads. Ford will also offer many charging options, including access to thousands of public stations and at-home charging.
Cannis states that the price is fair and asserts that fleet buyers will be willing to pay once they calculate potential cost savings.
Additionally, Ford says that the scheduled maintenance costs will be 40 percent lower for the E-Transit compared with a gas model of over eight years and 100,000 miles. The company added that increased uptime from not having to stop to refuel should also improve efficiency.
Cannis points out that many cities have noise ordinances that prohibit gas-powered vehicles from operating outside of certain hours, so the quiet electric motor on the E-Transit should allow businesses to work later than rivals.
Also, numerous telematics software offered through the Ford Commercial Services division is aimed at providing insights for business owners that will make driving more efficient as well as cost-effective.
According to Cannis Ford is providing sales training for employees at its commercial dealerships so that they can explain this to would-be buyers and help them work through the math of what they’d be able to save.
“We see that it’s going to [work] for most of our customers interested in this space,” Cannis said.
The E-Transit was built at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri and will be offered in three configurations, with three roof heights and three body lengths, to give business owners options to match specific needs. Furthermore, a Pro Power Onboard mobile generator, debuting on the 2021 F-150 pickup, will be optional.
Ford tries to produce a targeted 266 hp and 317 pound-feet of torque with the electric motor across all configurations. It targets a maximum payload of 3,800 pounds or up to 4,290 pounds on cutaway versions.
This automobile is part of Ford’s $11.5 billion global bet on electrification. CEO Jim Farley said that even as Ford prepares to launch the Mustang Mach-E crossover, which is geared toward retail customers, the automaker would focus mostly on commercial buyers, considering the business case might make them more inclined than retail buyers to go green.
In a statement, iSeeCars executive analyst, Karl Brauer said that “commercial vans might be the most effective use of electric vehicle technology. The combination of a consistent daily route with a home or work charging location solves two of the biggest EV customer concerns — range and infrastructure. Roll in the high torque and low noise offered by every EV and you have an ideal urban utility vehicle.”