Britain’s most-bought van, the Ford Transit Custom, will be sold with electric power from 2024, it has been confirmed.
The new E-Transit Custom – the smaller take on the conventional Transit van – has been unveiled, promising a fully-battery range of 236 miles and recharging to 80 per cent capacity in around 40 minutes.
Not only is the Transit Custom the most popular van on the market today but the combustion-engine version has been the best-selling motor of the last two years, with Ford shifting more examples of its popular commercial vehicle than Vauxhall has done Corsas – the most-bought car of last year in 2021 and so far this year.
White van men who opt for the electric variant will benefit from a few new handy features, including a ‘Delivery Assist’ mode that will shave around 20 seconds off every courier’s drop off, and a tilting steering wheel that becomes a small table to eat your lunch off.
Britain’s favourite new van is about to go electric: The Ford E-Transit Custom will arrive in the UK in 2024 and offers a full-charge range of 236 miles, which should be enough for a week’s driving for the average UK commercial vehicle user
The E-Transit Custom will follow in the wheel tracks of the conventional – though larger – E-Transit, which is already on sale in the UK starting from £44,945.
The smaller Custom should cost around £5,000 less than that (starting at around £40,000) and will go into direct competition with the Citroen e-Dispatch, Mercedes-Benz e-Vito and Vauxhall Vivaro-e, all of which are eligible for the Government’s £5,000 Plug-in Van Grant.
Even when discounted by the government scheme, it will be priced much higher than the existing diesel option, which starts from £28,145 without VAT.
Ford hopes the addition of the electric powertrain to its van line-up will provide another option to customers, with the Transit Custom proving immensely popular ever since the pandemic struck, causing a whirlwind of demand for commercial vehicles, mainly for increased delivery services.
Ford officially shifted over 53,000 of them in 2021 (which was 15,500 more than the most-bought car last year, the Vauxhall Corsa) and registrations of Transit Customs by the end of August has seen 2022 sales reach almost 29,000, which is nearly 3,000 more units than the best-selling car.
The electric Ford van is expected to be available to order for 2024, with prices starting at around £40,000 – and it should qualify for the Government £5,000 Plug-in Van Grant, if this is still in place when it does go on sale
Ford shifted over 53,000 Transit Customs in 2021, which was 15,500 more than the most-bought car last year, the Vauxhall Corsa. Registrations so far in 2022 are 3,000 units ahead of the Vauxhall supermini, such is the high demand for vans
By the end of August, Ford has sold almost 29k Transit Custom vans in 2022. That compares to just 26k Vauxhall Corsas. Pictured left is the 10 best-selling light commercial vehicles so far this year, while right is the most popular passenger cars
Ford E-Transit custom: Promises enough range for a van driver’s average week
The E-Transit Custom’s power is delivered from a 74kWh battery, which the car maker says will be good enough to deliver a range of 236 miles when topped up.
With the average UK van covering 13,000 miles per year, it should means drivers only need to charge it once a week.
It has an onboard 11kW AC charger, which enables a full charge from 10 per cent in just under eight hours if the user is plugging in at home overnight between shifts – though only as long as they have three-phase charging.
The 125kW DC charger for use with rapid public devices can boost the battery from 15 to 80 per cent in just 41 minutes – ideal for lunch breaks when travelling between jobs. If you want to get back on the road sooner and it’s not too far to the next location, a splash-and-dash five-minute charge should add around 23 miles of extra range.
The 74kWh battery feeds a single rear-mounted electric motor which, when on sale in 2024, will be offered with two different power outputs: 133bhp or 214bhp.
Power is delivered from a 74kWh battery, which will be good enough to deliver a range of 236 miles when topped up. With the average UK van covering 13,000 miles per year, it should means drivers only need to charge it once a week, in theory
It is compatible with 125kW DC chargers, meaning users can boost the battery from 15 to 80% in 41 minutes. If you want to get back on the road sooner, a splash-and-dash five-minute charge should add around 23 miles of extra range
Extending the range of its electrified vans is a vital factor for Ford if it is to encourage companies and small business operators to go green, which is why it has made a number of alternations to the look of the vehicle.
This includes a raft of modified bodywork features to reduce drag, such as aero-efficient door mirrors, a completely flat floor and exclusive wheels with a ‘wind-cheating’ design. Even the rear light cluster shape is claimed to be aerodynamically optimised.
Ford adds that the E-Transit Custom is the first-ever electric vehicle to use ‘vapour-injected heat pump technology’, which heats the cabin using waste heat from the battery and electric motors, again in a bid to improve range by reducing the need to turn on the interior heater.
It also has full one-pedal driving functionality, which maximises energy regeneration through braking to add a few extra miles to the battery’s range.
The E- Transit Custom has received as slight makeover. It gets aero-efficient door mirrors, a completely flat floor and exclusive wheels with a ‘wind-cheating’ design, all in the aim of extending its driving range
Even the rear light cluster shape is claimed to be aerodynamically optimised, according to Ford bosses who unveiled the vehicle last week
A steering wheel that turns into a canteen table
While the biggest consideration for customers will be how far the E-Transit Custom can go and its running costs – especially with energy prices on the rise – there are a number of practical features that might tempt them into making the transition to electric power.
Arguably the biggest of these is the new tilting steering wheel, which is available as part of a ‘Mobile Office’ option pack.
When parked up, the wheel can be swivelled into a horizontal position and a plastic panel clipped inside it to create a small desk for holding a laptop or – more likely – a packed lunch while the driver takes a well-earned break.
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 paperwork and devices, such as tablets.
When parked up, the steering wheel can be tilted into a horizontal position (right) and a plastic panel clipped inside it to create a small desk for holding a laptop or – more likely – a packed lunch while the driver takes a well-earned break
There is also an attachment to support a laptop on the steering wheel when you want to catch up on emails while on the job
Another stand-out feature is Delivery Assist, which is aimed at streamlining jobs for couriers.
With delivery drivers estimated to make up to 200 stops and deliver 500 items per day, Ford has even thought of ways of making this process quicker.
The assistance packages activates when the driver shifts into park, automatically switching on the hazard lights, closing any open windows, and locking the door once the driver leaves the van. When returning, the driver can keylessly enter and start the vehicle and the hazard lights go off and the windows return to their previous position.
Existing Transit Custom owners also said they want easier side door access, with Ford fulfilling their request by installing an automated feature that opens the 1-metre panel if the keyholder waves their foot under the sill – a perfect solution for couriers likely carrying heavy items.
For those operating with bigger teams, the van can be specified with an L-shaped seating layout, offering space for up to five people, though this ultimately eats into the loading area.
There is a separate 2.3kW power pack that can be used to connect a variety of devices, including power tools for construction workers.
For those operating with bigger teams, the van can be specified with this L-shaped seating layout. While it offers space for up to five people, it does eat into the available loading area
There is a separate 2.3kW power pack that can be used to connect a variety of devices, including power tools for construction workers
Ford has also taken into consideration the recent rise in vehicle crime, notably thieves targeting vans often in search of expensive tools and equipment stored inside.
The E-Transit Custom’s security systems can be linked to the SecuriAlert feature as part of the FordPass Pro smartphone app, which then provides a notification if it detects someone trying to access the vehicle, and also enables the user to lock or unlock doors remotely.
Production of the electrified commercial vehicle is due to begin in Turkey next autumn, with sales starting in Europe and the UK in 2024.
Ford says it has already sold more than 8,300 larger electric Transit vans across the continent – a number which will ultimately rise as it adds a total of four battery-powered vans to its business range of vehicles.
‘Powered by the Ford Pro digital ecosystem, E-Transit Custom offers a genuinely revolutionary proposition to European van customers,’ Ted Cannis, CEO at Ford Pro explained during the vehicle’s unveiling last week.
‘These vital businesses contribute €786billion to Europe’s economy, and E-Transit Custom will give them a much-needed productivity boost as they transition to EVs.’
Ford has installed additional security features to fend off criminals. It gets a SecuriAlert system that connects to a smartphone app. This provides a notification if it detects someone trying to access the vehicle
Production of the electrified commercial vehicle is due to begin in Turkey next autumn, with sales starting in Europe and the UK in 2024
CARS & MOTORING: ON TEST
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