A few months before the official market launch of the Ford E-Transit in spring 2022, European fleet customers have now received some pre-production vehicles for real-life field trials. In Germany, two electric vans are being tested in Cologne.
Ford says that users of the tests, which were announced in May and are to be implemented in several European countries, include municipal fleets, postal delivery companies, utilities, parcel services and food delivery companies. In Germany, two E-transit vans are being tested around the headquarters in Cologne. Cologne’s AWB waste management company and the city administration of Cologne have each received vehicles.
The test series will initially begin with ten pre-series examples. In addition to their use in Cologne, the test vehicles are on the road in the colours of DHL Express in Great Britain, for the Norwegian postal service, the British Ocado Group and the Swedish-Norwegian company Recover Nordic.
The ten vehicles being used in the tests are not identical. According to Ford, different variants with a gross vehicle weight of between 3.5 and 4.25 tonnes will be used, including chassis with refrigerated and box bodies, tippers and flatbed vehicles. The partly specialised conversions have the purpose of reflecting the many complex requirements that such commercial vehicles have to meet in everyday work. We summarised the detailed specifications for the E-Transit when these were released in November last year.
“We want to demonstrate that helping customers reduce their environmental impact can go hand-in-hand with improving their productivity,” says Dave Petts, Market Lead, Urban Electrified Vans, Ford of Europe. “Real-world mileage in customer hands helps us to show the business benefits that E-Transit can deliver, as well as providing valuable feedback on usage patterns and charging behaviour so that we can refine the operating experience. We firmly believe in treating our customers like family, and this programme highlights the value we place on those close partnerships.”
Ford announced the field trials back in May, also referencing previous field trials with the Transit Custom plug-in hybrid – which covered more than 240,000 kilometres in its fleet trials. There is another similarity between the E-Transit and the smaller Transit Custom PHEV: they are both built at the same plant, specifically Ford’s Otosan plant in Kocaeli, Turkey – but the E-Transit is assembled on its own line.
Although these are the first customer trials, Ford’s E-transit was “torture tested” back in June this year. This month, the UK’s NHS announced that it will be cooperating with Ford to develop fully electric ambulances from the E-transit with the Venari Group, after which the British National Health Service is planning to purchase a fleet of the vehicles.
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