The Transit Custom has gone fully electric with a new, ground-up model designed for the Ford Pro ecosystem
Ford is taking Britain’s most popular van into the electric age with this: the E-Transit Custom. Following the full-sized E-Transit, it’s the second of four electric vans to be released by Ford Pro – the company’s newly-formed commercial vehicle division – by 2024. Having revealed the new one-tonne offering earlier this year, the firm has now shed new light on the Vauxhall Vivaro-e rival – primarily in terms of its cabin, battery and motor specs.
The E-Transit Custom utilises a 74kWh (usable) battery to provide 236 miles of range on the WLTP cycle, meeting its targets from the initial reveal. This has been achieved by numerous bodywork features to reduce drag, including aero-optimised door mirrors, wheel deflectors and a smooth underfloor. All E-Transit Customs are equipped with a heat pump, which improves efficiency by using waste heat from the powertrain to warm the cabin.
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The van’s 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 per cent in 7.8 hours, with the van’s 125kW DC charging capability providing a 15-80 per cent top-up in 41 minutes.
The E-Transit Custom is available with two power outputs, each using a single 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 one-pedal driving functionality is offered to maximise regen and electric range.
Ford has designed the E-Transit Custom to be less than two metres tall, improving aerodynamic efficiency and allowing it to slip into city-centre car parks. Maximum payload capacity stands at 1.1 tonnes, and the van is capable of towing up to two tonnes.
Certain design elements have been incorporated following feedback from outgoing Transit Custom owners. For example, the van is now offered with an L-shaped bulkhead which allows space for five seats in the cabin, along with an area to store longer objects in the load bay. If approaching the van while carrying heavy items, the 1030mm-width side door can be opened by waving a foot under the sill.
Other convenience features include automatic door locks, hazard lights and side windows, which are designed to streamline deliveries when stopping in busy city centres. Independent rear suspension has also been installed to provide a smoother ride and tighter dynamics out on the road, and over-the-air updates via the Ford PowerUp service should improve the van’s functionality over time.
On the outside, the E-Transit Custom has an evolutionary look that’s similar to the current Transit Custom. There’s a large honeycomb grille, but this has been smoothed off to boost aerodynamics and is flanked by slender LED headlights. The charging flap is located in the front bumper, similar to the configuration used by the Transit Custom PHEV.
The E-Transit Custom’s interior has taken a significant leap forward with the introduction of a standard-fit SYNC 4 infotainment system. This combines a 13-inch central touchscreen with a fully digital dashboard, along with an onboard 5G modem to provide internet connectivity on the go. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are expected to feature, too.
For customers who carry out paperwork and admin tasks from inside their vans, Ford has installed an “office lighting” system and an innovative tilting steering wheel. This features a platform at the base of the rim to mount a laptop or clipboard, and the wheel can swivel to an almost horizontal position to form a table.
Given the unique packaging requirements of an electric van, Ford has decluttered the E-Transit Custom’s interior and reconfigured certain elements to maximise cabin space. For example, the front wheels are located further forward for minimal footwell intrusion, and the gear selector is now mounted on the steering column to free up knee room for those in the middle seat.
As with 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 for as short a time as possible. Digital key cards can also be assigned to allow multiple staff members access to the vehicle, and driving behaviours can be monitored through an online app.
Speaking at the E-Transit Custom’s reveal, Hans Schep, general manager of Ford Pro, Europe, explained: “This is a watershed moment for commercial vehicle operators in Europe, and another hugely significant realisation of our Ford Pro ambitions. Europe’s best-selling van just went all-electric and – supported by our unique Ford Pro one-stop-shop of productivity-boosting services – the operating benefits this will bring to business across Europe cannot be overstated.”
The E-Transit Custom marks the first of a series of powertrain options that will be available with the van, which will include 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 beginning at Ford’s Otasan plant in Autumn 2023.
Read our full review of the Ford Transit Custom here…
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