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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: Electric Vehicles Are Not Green!
By Yawgm0th on 2/9/2010 11:05:09 AM , Rating: 2
Green does not necessarily mean non-polluting or Carbon-neutral or any variant of either. For a technology to be green it must simply be a substantial improvement over the status quo.

More specifically, and this has been beat to death on DailyTech and Every forum out there ever, but it's well established that the production of electricity, even if it's made with coal, is far more efficient than using individual ICEs in vehicles. The pollutants released from the power plant (assuming it's not nuclear, wind, hydro, etc.) will be less per mile driven than those released from a car's engine. Additionally, there is the potential to create entirely clean electricity sources (be it 50 years from now, it can happen). Oil will always be dirty.

I'm also tired of hearing nonsense about making and disposing of batteries. The most serious form of pollution is what we release into the air. Other pollutants can be captured or disposed of more safely. Batteries can even be recycled.

I'm not saying they aren't a problem, but there is effectively nothing we can do to stop cars from releasing pollutants into the air that we breath. Air pollution is a far more serious problem.

By werfu on 2/9/2010 11:50:09 AM , Rating: 2
That's totaly true. Clean coal technologies have been improving. They are not realy "clean" as coal still produce CO2, but efficiency has been improved steadily. Also, increased usage of electricity will put a strain on current grid and demand. With more usage and more cash going into the electric sector, more innovations will follow up. The system will transform and get better. That's all what green is about : statu quo is not viable.

About batteries, forget about pollution. Every batteries in these cars will be recycled. The price of the components in these is so high that no one will let them rot in a scrap yard.

Nuclear power is also a good solution. New reactor design are by far more efficient and safe. Nuclear reactors only require proper disposition of the spent fuel. That's a no brainer. That's exactly if you could catch all of the by product of coal combustion. You'd have to dispose from it a good way.

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