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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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RE: what a joke...
By CharonPDX on 12/9/2010 6:57:30 PM , Rating: 2
The only major flaw in your thinking is $3/gallon average.

So, first we have to figure the "useful life". We'll call it the warranted 120k miles or 10 years. At the given average 41 miles per day for a commercial vehicle (lets actually round down to 40, makes it easier,) and only 5 working days a week, that's 10,400 miles a year. So in 10 years, it will have hit 104k miles. Alright, we're going to call the useful life 10 years/104k miles.

So, how much will gas increase over 10 years? If the past is any indication, it will fluctuate wildly. But, we have to pick a number. 10 years ago, gas here averaged $1.50 a gallon. Now it's $3. However, it hit $3/gallon repeatedly over that time. It seems to hover at a price for awhile, then spike, drop back a little, then settle slightly higher; rinse, repeat. So let's say it will double to $6/gallon in 10 years, and average $4.50. At $4.50 a gallon, those 104k miles at 21 MPG will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $22,000.

Yup, still doesn't pan out.

However, commercial vehicles DO tend to be used a lot longer than their "useful life". So to break even, assuming an average of $5/gallon, you would have to drive 151,200 miles.
(If I had full Mathematica handy, I'd make up a formula that would do it with a starting price of $3/gallon, +5%/year, 10,400 miles per year, and have it calculate the time and miles of break-even...)

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