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Ford Transit Connect
The plug-in EV will be available for commercial fleets only

High on the business plans for American automakers are electric vehicles. Advances in electric vehicles were a key component of the business plans of the manufacturers that received billions in aid from the federal government.

Ford hasn’t received aid funds from the government yet, though it may have to if overall automotive sales continue to slump. Still the automaker is big on electric vehicles and has plans for several electric models. Ford announced that it would be working with Smith Electric Vehicles to bring an all-electric cargo van to market.

The van will be the Transit Connect commercial vehicle and it is reported to be coming as a 2010 model. Ford's Derrick Kuzak said in a statement, "The new Transit Connect light commercial vehicle with battery electric power represents the next logical step in our pursuit of even greater fuel economy and sustainability. A growing number of our commercial vehicle fleet clients have expressed interest in electrification as a sustainable mobility solution. By leveraging our global team and asset portfolio, we're able to quickly bring this environmentally friendly, strong 'silent type' to market."

Smith has been converting standard vehicles to electric cars in the UK since 1920 and the company already markets a battery-powered version of the Transit Connect in the UK. Ford and Smith promise that the van will have an all-electric range of 100 miles and will be offered for commercial use only.

The gasoline engine will be replaced with a 50 kW electric motor that will push the van to a top speed of 70 MPH. The payload capacity of the van will be 1,764 pounds making it viable as a commercial transport. Ford's first electric vehicle for consumers -- the Focus EV -- will debut in 2011.

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By Supa on 2/9/2009 10:55:56 AM , Rating: 5
Whoa, what's with the pope mobile styling?


RE: Styling
By SlipDizzy on 2/9/2009 10:58:55 AM , Rating: 2
I thought it looked more like the Go-Go-Gadget Van.... except white instead of gray.

RE: Styling
By phxfreddy on 2/9/2009 12:36:08 PM , Rating: 4
Riding along in my Pope Mobile
my pope mobile my pope mobile
Eating my Pope-tarts
and waving at my Pope-les.

RE: Styling
By austinag on 2/9/2009 2:23:42 PM , Rating: 1
I don't think it qualifies as a van, more 1985 Ford Fiesta with an exploded behind.

RE: Styling
By chmilz on 2/9/2009 11:16:50 AM , Rating: 3
It's just so... ugly.

Ford's been on a roll lately, so why not put a tad more design effort into this thing?

RE: Styling
By Tsuwamono on 2/9/2009 11:44:30 AM , Rating: 1
its from Europe... The land of ugly vehicles.

RE: Styling
By goz314 on 2/9/2009 2:08:35 PM , Rating: 2
its from Europe... The land of ugly vehicles.

Yeah, most Ferraris, Lambos, BMWs, Mercedes, and Audis look like total crap.


RE: Styling
By kkwst2 on 2/9/09, Rating: 0
RE: Styling
By 3DoubleD on 2/9/2009 3:03:52 PM , Rating: 3
Are YOU kidding. Everywhere I went people had the most beautiful cars. In comparison, American taste in cars is crap. Even in Romania, a country that was communist less than 20 years ago, there were more BMW, Audi, Porsche, ect than I'd ever seen back home. It is true that Europe has made some pretty damn ugly cars (although half of them could be blamed on communism), but we are just as guilty (if not more guilty) over here. To sum it up, if you gave a random person extra money to not just buy the car that they need but one that they want/looks good I'd bet that the vast majority would buy European cars. I'm sure many would agree, although I'm sure you won't because your are that small minority who actually like most American cars.

RE: Styling
By Noya on 2/9/2009 9:59:57 PM , Rating: 2
more BMW, Audi, Porsche, ect than I'd ever seen back home

Where do you live back home? The south?

On another note, BMW and Audi have been selling entry-level trim levels in the EU where most models they send to the States are aimed in the entry/mid-level luxury class. Just look at the 1-series for example. It finally arrives here with a price tag that's nearly identical to the 335i.

RE: Styling
By otispunkmeyer on 2/10/2009 3:56:04 AM , Rating: 3
right mate, whatever.... i live in the UK, and cars such as

bentley, jaguar, aston martin, porsche, maserati are nearly a daily occurance where i live... and thats middlesbrough, hardly the money capital of the country.

last time i was in germany i saw plenty of high class mercs and beemers and even a handful of R8's as well as a lot of porsches

where i live in middlesbrough theres plenty of footballers with flash cars... m5's and m6's, RR sports, porsches, astons.... then theres the club owners and drug dealers, one of em got a rolls phantom!

theres even a prestige car hire place in town that will rent you a Lamborghini!..... in middlesbrough! its a hole of a town!

going to london only makes sightings like this even more common.

but i think what he was saying was more to do with the design flair and design language of the cars...i.e. europe designs some of the best looking cars in the world. yeah they might be abundant in the US, but you guys didnt design or make them. thats what hes getting at.

not that you lot dont make some good looking machines mind, when you lot are a alowed to do what you do best you make some great looking machines.

and by the way.... the transit connect has been out for yonks here. and yes its a fugly little thing, but then most white vans are.

RE: Styling
By tallcool1 on 2/10/2009 7:55:49 AM , Rating: 2
bentley, jaguar, aston martin, porsche, maserati are nearly a daily occurance where i live... and thats middlesbrough, hardly the money capital of the country.
I do agree, there are plenty of good looking European cars, however I doubt your average person is driving around in a Bentley or Porsche....
What's the typical cost of a Bentley or Porsche? I doubt the average Joe is cruising in one of these...

RE: Styling
By Murloc on 2/9/2009 2:21:04 PM , Rating: 2
I find that many american cars are just horrible.

RE: Styling
By CommodoreVic20 on 2/9/2009 3:26:12 PM , Rating: 2
American cars = caca

except for the corvette, a rare and beautiful example of what could be.

RE: Styling
By PrinceGaz on 2/9/2009 9:42:11 PM , Rating: 5
Okaaaaay. Yeah, Europe, where cars are actually cars and we have German and Italian manufacturers producing most of the best looking cars available today, whilst the US motor-industry continues to churn out not so good looking pickup trucks and needs governemnt bailouts to avoid going bust. And you call Europe the land of ugly vehicles. Yeah right.

RE: Styling
By sdsdv10 on 2/10/2009 9:10:22 AM , Rating: 3
Okaaaaay. Yeah, Europe, where...

the Italian government has offered 2 billion euros to help their ailing auto industry and where the French government just signed a bill providing "3 billion euros ($3.87 billion) in preferential-rate financing for Peugeot as well as for domestic rival Renault".

This recession is global and has absolutely nothing to do with the "styling" or "looks" of any particular countries motor vehicles.

RE: Styling
By kattanna on 2/9/2009 11:37:22 AM , Rating: 3
to maximize the cargo space

RE: Styling
By Indianapolis on 2/9/2009 11:39:02 AM , Rating: 1
You haven't really seen ugly automobiles until you've lived in Europe. Eventually you build up a tolerance.

RE: Styling
By psychobriggsy on 2/9/2009 12:24:49 PM , Rating: 2
One, don't lump all of Europe in with France.

Two, it looks like a Renault van (see 1) rather than a Ford. What's up with that?

RE: Styling
By Indianapolis on 2/9/2009 12:37:13 PM , Rating: 3
Who mentioned France? While the French are certainly masters of the ugly auto, they by no means have the market cornered. The Swedes have certainly given the French a run for their money with Saab.

RE: Styling
By afkrotch on 2/9/2009 12:48:16 PM , Rating: 3
Ya, like all those type of commercial vans don't look exactly the same in Europe. Renault, Ford, Citreon, Seat, etc. Doesn't matter. When it comes to that type of vehicle, they all look the same and do the same thing.

RE: Styling
By HaB1971 on 2/9/2009 12:39:16 PM , Rating: 3
Well would dare venture to say that pretty much anything designed by Pontiac prior to the current safely styled G6's and G8's hold their own in the pantheon of ugly vehicles, IMHO. Hopefully their entire design studio were taken out back and shot for visual crimes against humanity for these two atrocities.

Behold the Aztec and the 1999 Firebird

While saying that, there are far worse vehicles from Europe with Renault, Citroen and Fiat being guilty as charged on all counts.

The Fiat Multipla holds the crown in my book

I guess someone finds them nice to look at?

RE: Styling
By Diesel Donkey on 2/9/2009 3:33:29 PM , Rating: 1
With all the ugly vehicles to choose from in this world, you chose the 1999 Firebird? Except for the ridiculous air intakes, I think I like it!

RE: Styling
By cfaalm on 2/9/2009 4:10:43 PM , Rating: 1
Nah, it looks like a shoe.

RE: Styling
By Keeir on 2/9/2009 6:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
Although its not terrible... its supposed to be a sports car and the very top of Pontiac line..

As such, it fails (IMO) miserably. Not to say its anywhere near the Aztec is terms of fugliness, but then again the Aztec is a mini-van type Auto which lowers my standards for it significantly.

RE: Styling
By Tamale on 2/9/2009 4:29:53 PM , Rating: 2
The Aztek is indeed one of the ugliest cars ever made. That toyota hummer is pretty nasty too.

Also, the old-school boat-like wagons were rather fugly.

RE: Styling
By CupCak3 on 2/9/2009 11:49:37 AM , Rating: 2
Whoa, what's with the pope mobile styling?

You need to become more well traveled...

RE: Styling
By Screwballl on 2/9/2009 12:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
I thought it looks like a plain or commercial style Ford Flex

By nvalhalla on 2/9/2009 10:36:26 AM , Rating: 2
Since Obama started pushing for in accelerated timetable for CAFE increases, Ford has announced 2 all electric vehicles. Interesting...

By whirabomber on 2/9/2009 10:47:27 AM , Rating: 2
I believe Ford is following the bailout requirements for GM/Chrysler "just in case." Which would make all of the Ford EV/hybrid announcements make sense. Now if the Fusion came in a station wagon hybrid I would retire the PT.

By Noya on 2/9/2009 9:54:13 PM , Rating: 1
I would retire the PT.

Wow, someone brave enough to mention they own a hunk of junk.

By psychobriggsy on 2/9/2009 10:58:30 AM , Rating: 2
Well this is a great van for cities like London that don't apply the congestion charge to vehicles if they're electric or very very low emission. Such a van is also a good size for the roads in those areas as well. Of course you would have to limit the distance that the van could do on its delivery route because of the distance limit ...

It just depends if the savings from using electricity to recharge, and savings from avoiding the congestion charge over the vehicles lifespan, are more than the extra cost of the vehicle over the petrol equivalent.

By blowfish on 2/9/2009 11:16:48 AM , Rating: 2
Cost savings will come with volume production. It's really only the battery cost and low production volume that would make such a van more expensive than a regular petrol or diesel van.

A battery electric vehicle does not need a complex transmission, a clutch, water pump, etc. That's a big reason the auto makers have not really tried hard to develop them. Add to that the much greater longevity and simplicity of an electric motor compared with the highly sophisitcated and expensive engineering involved in modern internal combustion engines.

Once the battery technology is right, the fuel cell blind alley will be abandoned, and fuel cells will take their rightful place in combined heat and power installations.

Whats with all the ugly comments?
By jabber on 2/10/2009 8:56:09 AM , Rating: 3
Its a UTILITY vehicle! Its not designed for looks. Its designed to maximise loading capacity, ease of loading/unloading and protecting areas that tend to get damaged on these types of vehicles.

If I was shifting boxes all day I'd want something easy to use rather than a work of art.

Its like cabs. They took a load of London black cabs to New York a few years ago. Gave them to a very skeptical bunch of NY cabbies to try out. At first they thought they looked really odd and old fashioned compared to their Crown Victorias but after just a day they realised the benefits of a vehicle actually designed to do what its meant to do in an urban environ. Pretty much all of them fell in love with the black cab.

The sticking point was cost/age. Apparently NY cabs are supposed to be replaced after 5 years so cheap and cheerful rules. London cabs are designed to last 20+ years and therefore, cost more. Shame.

interesting idea
By Chernobyl68 on 2/9/2009 12:59:07 PM , Rating: 2
might go a little farther though - companies with fleet vehicles like UPS or DHL step-vans; they all drive city traffic mostly and return to a common warehouse every day. Good candidate for a vehicle of this type, though it would probably need more capacity and range.

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