Ford Unveils Electric and Natural Gas Versions of Popular Transit Van

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Just ahead of their official launch at the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, Ford has released more details on the upcoming all-electric and natural gas versions of their popular commercial fleet and utility van, the Transit Connect.

Since its U.S. introduction at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, the Transit Connect has garnered significant praise from the media for its fuel efficiency and versatility. In fact, just last month the Transit won the 2010 North American Truck of the Year honors at the Detroit Auto Show.

In an effort to maintain the positive momentum, Ford is adding some significant revisions to the Transit Connect lineup for the 2011 model year by adding an all-electric version as well as a compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) capable Taxi version.

Transit Connect Electric

The Transit Connect Electric is targeted at commercial and fleet customers with a set daily route or who drive predictable distances and have a central location for daily recharging. Ford has been working with Detroit-based Azure Dynamics to fit the Transit with Azure’s Force Drive battery electric powertrain and a Johnson Controls-Saft lithium-ion battery stack. Ford is targeting a range of about 80 miles for the Transit EV on a full charge of its 28 kWh battery. The battery can be recharged in 6-8 hours on a 240V outlet or longer on a 120V outlet. The vehicle has a top speed of 75 mph, making it fully highway legal.

The electric Transit is the first product in Ford’s upcoming electric vehicle line up and is set to go into production in late 2010. The Transit EV will be followed by an electric Focus in 2011 and an as-yet-unannounced plug-in hybrid in 2012.

Transit Connect Taxi

New for the 2011 model year, Ford is also introducing a Taxi version of the transit connect with an engine prep package that will allow owners/operators to convert the vehicle to run on CNG or LPG. According to Ford, a conversion to CNG will reduce emissions by 30-40% and will result in significantly lower cost of operation due to the low cost of CNG in the U.S. as well as reduced wear and tear on the engine. Also, almost 90% of all CNG sold in the U.S. is derived from domestic sources, so there’s the added benefit of stopping that flow of money to organizations that don’t have our best interests in mind.

The Transit Connect Taxi will go into production in early 2011.

Source: Ford | Image Credits: Ford

 

Nick Chambers

Not your traditional car guy.