Ford is bringing Britain’s most popular van into the electric era with this: the E-Transit Custom. Following the full-size E-Transit, this is the second of four electric vans to be released by Ford Pro – the company’s newly formed commercial vehicle division – in 2024. After revealing its new one-ton offering earlier this year, the company has now outlined rival Vauxhall. Vivaro-e – especially in terms of its cab, battery and motor specs.
The E-Transit Custom uses a 74kWh (usable) battery to provide a range of 236 miles on a WLTP cycle, meeting its target from initial disclosure. This has been achieved with various bodywork features to reduce drag, including aero-optimized mirrors, wheel deflectors and a smooth underfloor. All E-Transit Customs are equipped with a heat pump, which increases efficiency by using waste heat from the powertrain to warm the cab.
The van battery can also be used as a 2.3kW power pack for external devices – useful for construction workers or DIY specialists, for example. The onboard 11kW AC charger enables a full charge from 10 percent in 7.8 hours, with the van’s 125kW DC charging capability providing 15-80 percent recharge in 41 minutes.
The E-Transit Custom is available with two power outputs, each using a rear-mounted electric motor. The entry-level model produces 134bhp, with a more powerful 215bhp version also available. Each produces 415Nm of torque, and full single-pedal drive functionality is offered to maximize regen and electric range.
Ford has designed the E-Transit Custom to be less than two meters high, increasing aerodynamic efficiency and allowing it to fit into downtown parking lots. The maximum payload capacity is 1.1 tonnes, and the van is capable of towing up to two tonnes.
Certain design elements have been included following feedback from the owners of the outgoing Custom Transit. For example, vans are now offered with L-shaped bulkheads that allow room for five seats in the cabin, along with an area for storing longer items in the cargo hold. If approaching the van carrying heavy items, the 1030mm wide side doors can be opened by swinging your foot under the window sill.
Other convenience features include automatic door locks, hazard lights and side windows, designed to streamline deliveries during stops in busy city centres. An independent rear suspension has also been installed to provide a smoother ride and firmer dynamics on the road, and over-the-air updates via the Ford PowerUp service will improve the van’s functionality over time.
On the outside, the E-Transit Custom has an evolutionary look similar to the current Transit Custom. There’s a large honeycomb grille, but this has been smoothed out to improve aerodynamics and is flanked by sleek LED headlights. The charging cap is located on the front bumper, similar to the configuration used by the Transit Custom PHEV.
The interior of the E-Transit Custom has taken a significant leap forward with the introduction of the standard-compliant SYNC 4 infotainment system. It combines a 13-inch center touchscreen with a fully digital dashboard, along with an onboard 5G modem to provide internet connectivity on the go. Apple CarPlay wireless and Android Auto are also expected.
For customers performing administrative and administrative work from inside their van, Ford has installed an innovative “office lighting” system and tilt steering wheel. It has a platform at the base of the rim for attaching a laptop or clipboard, and the wheels can rotate to a nearly horizontal position to form a desk.
Given the unique packaging requirements of an electric van, Ford has declared the interior of the E-Transit Custom and reconfigures certain elements to maximize cabin space. For example, the front wheels are located further forward to minimize footwell intrusion, and a gear selector is now mounted on the steering column to free up knee room for those in the center seat.
Like the E-Transit, the Custom will feature Ford Pro telematics and ‘always-on’ connectivity. This will allow fleet users and businesses to monitor their vans in real-time, helping to maintain fleet health and keep vehicles off the road in the shortest possible time. Digital key cards can also be assigned to allow multiple staff members to access the vehicle, and driving behavior can be monitored via an online application.
Speaking at the E-Transit Custom reveal, Hans Schep, general manager of Ford Pro, Europe, explained: “This is an important moment for commercial vehicle operators in Europe, and another very significant realization of our Ford Pro ambitions. Europe’s best-selling van has just gone all-electric and – backed by our unique one-stop-shop Ford Pro productivity enhancing service – the operating benefits it will bring to businesses across Europe cannot be overstated.”
The E-Transit Custom marks the first in a series of powertrain options that will be available with the van, which will include both diesel and plug-in hybrid models. Further bodystyles are also in the works to offer different roof heights, wheelbases and passenger capacities, with production of the E-Transit Custom starting at the Ford Otasan plant in Fall 2023.
Read our full Ford Transit Custom review here…