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Ford thinks commercial fleets are perfect for EVs  (Source: The Detroit News)
Connect has 80 mile driving range

Pure EVs are still relatively rare in the U.S. compared to hybrids that are rather commonplace, but there are a few ready to hit the streets including the Nissan Leaf. Now Ford has announced that its electric Transit Connect vans are ready to ship.

The Transit Connect is a commercial delivery van that just happens to be plug-in EV. The Transit started shipping Tuesday of this week and Ford estimates that the Transit EV will make up about half of its total EV sales over the next decade.

The Transit EV is sized well for corporate fleets according to
The Detroit News. The electric Transit Connect will sell for $57,400 and has a range of 80 miles on a full charge. The vehicle will have a 10-year 120,000 mile warranty. That warranty length is typical for commercial vehicles. Ford plans to produce 600 to 700 Connect EV vans this year and then start producing the vehicles in Europe as well next year.

The van is targeting the small business and fleet operator that knows a defined route that will fit into the 80-mile range of the Connect. The DOT considers the average distance traveled each day by a commercial vehicle to be 41 miles.

Ford's Sherif Marakby, director for electrification and engineering, said, "You could view the commercial market as ideal. Drivers know the routes and the driving is predictable." 

Interestingly, Ford's major rival GM is not looking to the commercial market for its EVs. GM is looking to the consumer market with hybrids and its extended range electric vehicle known as the Volt. GM plans to launch pure EVs in China, but those vehicles may not come to America.



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Europe
By goodsyntax on 12/9/2010 12:47:56 PM , Rating: 3
In Europe this may make more sense economically, considering their gas prices (which are absurdly high at around $10 per gallon), the congested roadways and relatively meager range requirements.

Considering the above, break-even for a British small business may be as little as 3-4 years, depending on price fluctuation and how much time would be spent idling (thus reducing gas efficiency on an MPG basis).

Honestly, I'm shocked that this is introduced in the US first. Our relatively low gas prices makes this vehicle nothing more than a rolling billboard for the Green movement. As others have mentioned, break even wouldn't happen for 10-12 years (unless there is a significant spike in gas prices).




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