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Ford Transit Connect Electric  (Source: Ford Motor Company)
Ford is on a roll these days and the Transit Connect Electric is a part of the company's "green" future

When it comes to electric vehicles, DailyTech has mostly covered the consumer side of things. General Motors is going full steam ahead with its Volt "extended range" electric vehicle, Nissan is developing its all-electric Leaf, and Tesla is hitting a higher price point with its Roadster and Model S all-electric vehicles.

However, all-electric vehicles aren't just limited to the consumer market -- they can also make sense for the commercial market as well. A year ago today, DailyTech first brought you news that Ford would introduce an electric version of its small but capable Transit Connect commercial van. Ford is making good on that promise and today announced the 2011 Transit Connect Electric.

The 2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric was developed in conjunction with Azure Dynamics Corporation and uses a "Force Drive" electric powertrain. The vehicle uses a 50 kW electric motor and the 28 kWh lithium-ion battery pack -- developed in conjunction with Johnson Controls-Saft -- allows the Transit Connect Electric to travel up to 80 miles on a charge. Top speed for the vehicle is 75 mph, so don't expect the Transit Connect Electric to keep up with Atlanta highway traffic anytime soon.

Ford says that the Transit Connect Electric can be recharged from either 120V or 240V outlets.

Transit Connect Electric exemplifies how we are leveraging our relationships as well as our hybrid and advanced powertrain programs to bring energy-efficient technologies from the laboratory to the street,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “Not only is this an ideal vehicle for eco-conscious fleet operators, it is an important part of Ford’s future.”

"These vehicles actually are meant for specific types of customers that have a predictable drive route, continued Praveen Cherian, Program Manager of the Transit Connect. Most of our customers have said, look we don't drive more than 50-60 miles on a give day and these commercial customers like, for example, florists or a handyman, plumber, or a Best Buy Geek Squad, utility type purposes vehicle… so we've designed this vehicle to have a range of 80 miles on a full state of charge."

Even with a large lithium-ion battery packed into the Transit Connect Electric's compact frame, the 181-inch vehicle still has 135 cu-ft of cargo space which is almost as much as a Chevrolet Suburban.

Ford has not announced pricing for the Transit Connect Electric yet, but do expect to pay a premium for the luxury of not having to worry about using gasoline anymore. The base price of a standard Transit Connect is $20,780, so let's hope that Ford can keep the price of the Transit Connect Electric below $30,000.

Following the launch of the Transit Connect Electric, Ford says that it will also launch an all-electric version of its next generation Focus next year.

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RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By kelmerp on 2/9/2010 9:39:08 AM , Rating: 2
Baby steps man, we can't do everything all at once and this seems like a good start.

Also, how do nuclear power plants pollute? I understand the used fuel rods have to be disposed of somehow, but I'm not sure that's pollution. I'm not being argumentative, I just don't know the answer.

Isn't the Obama administration putting a lot of emphasis recently on nuclear as a bridge technology, since they consider it to be less polluting? The new budget has something like 38 billion in incentives to get some nuclear going.

RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By porkpie on 2/9/2010 9:52:25 AM , Rating: 3
Obama has set aside funds for loan garauntees for new nuke plants. Only problem is, no one has requested them -- and its unclear they ever will be able to. The regulatory burden towards building a new plant runs into the thousands of permits, and can take 15-20 year to fulfill...assuming you even succeed, of course.

RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By tjr508 on 2/9/2010 8:42:02 PM , Rating: 3
Let's not forget the whole slamming the brakes on Yucca either. What I hear from Washington and what I observe are entirely different.

RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By xpax on 2/9/2010 11:41:19 AM , Rating: 5
Technically you have to do something with the spent fuel rods, as old-school reactors only use a small percentage of each rod. They go into a cooling pond for a while, and then are usually buried somewhere. At some point, it'll build up, and we'll have to shoot them of into space.

Still, this doesn't have to be the problem it once was. We now have fast breeder reactors, reactors that use thorium instead of uranium. These use most of the fuel and thus produce far less waste.

Fact is, nuclear is the greenest technology we have at the moment.

RE: Will it really be cheaper?
By JonB on 2/9/2010 3:47:26 PM , Rating: 3
The fuel is not buried. Period. People like to use the term "buried" because of all the images in brings to mind. After many years of cooling and radioactive decay, spent fuel is cool enough to remove from the "pools" they are initially kept in. Some plants never remove them from pools, but many will place the cooler fuel assemblies into "dry cask storage." These massive steel and concrete cylinders stay above ground. If, and that's a big IF, the Yucca Mountain storage facility ever gets used, they still won't really bury the fuel, just move those dry casks into rock chambers carved into the mountain.

And although Thorium reactors do use more of the fuel than Uranium 235 reactors, they still can't use "most" of the fuel, just a lot more. Thorium is more plentiful and produces very little plutonium as a byproduct. Both good attributes.

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