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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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EVs are forced
By Yawgm0th on 2/9/2010 11:18:09 AM , Rating: 2
The drive to get EVs is premature. What everyone on my own side of the political sphere is afraid to admit is that for the most part, EVs are going to be economically unsustainable for the next, say, ten years. Tax incentives can be justified, as can the higher price for consumers, but to a point. A 50% increase in cost of acquisition on a product that is already heavily subsidized just isn't justifiable. There are better ways to use the money to reduce our impact on the environment whilst simultaneously improving the economy.

Pollution and even global warming may be problems, but so are poverty and wealth distribution. We're getting setup to subsidize the upper-middle class and upper class in their transition to "green" vehicles.

Instead of forcing EVs now, what we ought to do is slowly transition to them over a decade or two. In the meantime, R&D money would be better spent (for the economy and the environment) on getting, cheaper, better, faster, more efficient hybrids. Ford should be working on an affordable hybrid Focus and getting the Fusion Hybrid to a reasonable price.

Getting ten thousand gas vehicles replaced by electrics is just not as effective as giving a 50% fuel efficiency increase to ten million vehicles. Rapid, sweeping increases in fuel efficiency are possible in the decade. A wide-scale shift to plug-ins is not.




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