Ford Launching Transit Connect in US Starting This Summer; Battery-Electric Version Due in 2010
09 February 2009
|The 2010 Ford Transit Connect. Click to enlarge.|
Ford is introducing the North American version of the 2010 Transit Connect light commercial vehicle at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show this week. (Earlier post.) Sales begin this summer.
Ford also said that the first product in Ford’s new electric vehicle plan announced in January(earlier post) will be a battery electric-powered version of the Transit Connect commercial vehicle. Ford is collaborating with Smith Electric Vehicles to bring the electric Transit Connect to market in North America in 2010.
In the UK, Ford is already collaborating with Tanfield to offer battery-electric versions of the Ford Transit and Transit Connect commercial vehicles for fleet customers in the UK and European markets. (Earlier post.)
The conventional Ford Transit Connect is built on a dedicated front-wheel drive commercial vehicle platform, targeted at small business owners and entrepreneurs. To prepare the Transit Connect, introduced in Europe in 2003, for the needs of small businesses in the United States, Ford upgraded the powertrain to a Duratec 2.0-liter dual-overhead cam (DOHC) four-cylinder gasoline engine and a four-speed automatic overdrive transaxle.
More than 600,000 Ford Transit Connects have been sold since 2003, to customers in 58 countries and on four continents. Ford’s Global Product Development team was able to quickly adapt the Transit Connect for the American market, validate its durability and tailor the cargo space.
The Transit Connect offers 135 cubic feet (3.8 m3) of cargo volume, and a cargo payload of 1,600 pounds (726 kg). The Transit Connect is expected to deliver at least 20 city and 24 highway mpg, pending EPA fuel economy certification.
The Duratec 2.0L features four valves per cylinder and an aluminum block and head. Sequential multiport electronic fuel injection provides precise fuel metering. The engine delivers an estimated 136 hp (101 kW) delivering an estimated 136 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 128 lb-ft (174 Nm) of torque at 4,750 rpm.
This engine is mated to a four-speed automatic transaxle with overdrive for additional fuel economy. A final-drive ratio of 4.20 to 1 is designed to give Transit Connect pulling power. The Transit Connect was developed at the outset to be durable, with a boron steel front crossmember, a high-strength steel reinforced body shell, twin-side cross members and side-impact protection. Several areas of the body structure are double-skinned for additional strength, increasing resistance to the minor scrapes inherent to urban delivery situations. Swage lines along the lower side door panels add rigidity and visual character.
The Transit connect will start at $21,475.
Battery Electric Transit Connect. At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford unveiled an accelerated plan to bring next-generation hybrid-electric (HEV); a plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV); and battery-electric (BEV) vehicles to market quickly and more affordably during the next four years.
The battery electric-powered version of Ford’s global Transit Connect commercial vehicle will be the first vehicle offered as part of the plan, and will go on sale in 2010. The electric Transit Connect will have a range of about 100 miles.
The new Transit Connect light commercial vehicle with battery electric power represents the next logical step in our pursuit of even greater fuel economy and sustainability. A growing number of our commercial vehicle fleet clients have expressed interest in electrification as a sustainable mobility solution. By leveraging our global team and asset portfolio, we’re able to quickly bring this environmentally friendly, strong ‘silent type’ to market.—Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development
During the next four years, Ford will introduce in North America:
- The Transit Connect battery electric commercial vehicle in 2010;
- A new battery electric small car in 2011;
- Next-generation hybrid vehicles in 2012; and
- Plug-in hybrid versions in 2012.
Ford already command around 40% of the US market for commercial vehicles. I can see them capturing an even bigger percentage with the Transit Connect as part of their offering.
Shareholders in Tanfield Group - the UK owner of Smith Electric Vehicles - will be delighted to hear the confirmation of Smith's role in producing the electric version. The news is sure to increase the crowds and journalists visiting their stand at the Work Trucks show in Chicago in early March.
Smith have indicated that the newly formed SEVUS company (Smith Electric Vehicles US Corp) will be selling their much bigger 7.5t-12t all-electric Newton cargo truck this year - a year earlier than Ford's small electric van reaches the showrooms. And news of the Ford partnership with SEV will surely boost SEVUS's standing in the marketplace.
Posted by: Bob Uppendown | 09 February 2009 at 06:00 AM
Hard to see this competing well with the pickup truck. They appeal to the rugged driver who would not want to be seen dead in a box like this. But it's good to see commercial EVs coming along.
Posted by: Reel$$ | 09 February 2009 at 11:58 AM
Reel$$, you have a point, but if and when gas hits $4 again, people will stop caring about the rugged appeal of their truck. Nobody "needs" a pickup truck, not even all the contractors who claim they do. One of these will do just fine and now that they will be available in the US, I'm willing to bet at least some people will see the beauty of this little trucklet even when gas is cheap, and that many more will if gas spikes again, which it almost certainly will.
Posted by: Peter | 09 February 2009 at 01:00 PM
I think the connect (the gas engined one) is going to be a much bigger success than some people imagine. It is just SO practical and has no direct competition. The styling I agree is unattractive - but that won't be so obvious once traders have their own signs and images painted all over it.
Posted by: Bob Uppendown | 09 February 2009 at 04:30 PM
The contractors ONLY care about how much a truck can HAUL and how many people can be fit in the truck. They dont realy care about anything else tho they do enjoy it if its also not guzzling quite as much gas.
This is mainly because the only limit to the jobs you can do is how many people you can bring and how much stopp you can bring in how much time.
Simple fact as a contractor friend of mine put it..
A small truck means small jobs wich dont pay well.
A medium truck means small jobs and a few medium ones.
A big truck meana more medium jobs.
The ONLY way to get the mcmansion jobs is to get the biggest trucks and those jobs pay in one job more then all the other jobs you can do in a year and in one job pay for any truck you would possibly wana buy for the job.
Posted by: wintermane2000 | 10 February 2009 at 12:32 AM
wintermane - i recall reading the exact same argument when the Transit Connect was first marketed in Europe. Since when, Ford has sold more than 600,000 of them.
I know the US is different in so many ways - but I think the naysayers are going to be surprised at how well this vehicle fits the needs of many traders. I'll be watching for reactions from the Chicago show tomorrow when people get to see the Transit Connect in the metal.
Posted by: Bob Uppendown | 10 February 2009 at 02:17 AM
If they made it with a pickup bed, I would be all over it. The payload capacity exceeds most Dodge Ram 1500. I love the small footprint and price, but need the accessibility of a pickup bed. The Ranger gets the same MPG, but is comparatively a relic with poor payload capacity. I look forward to a Transit Connect with a 6-speed manual or automatic, and more engine options.
I believe in addition to the Transit Connect in the US, a new global Transit will replace the Econoline van. I'll be interested to see whether Ford will offer a chassis cab version of the new Transit van in the US; it could hurt F-150/250 sales.
Posted by: joookes | 10 February 2009 at 10:29 AM
Although I am very glad they are starting to bring some European models to the US and I think this transit will sell quite well. However, it is not a complete replacement for a PU. I live in the southern Rockies and I often haul 6K plus pounds, sometime through high elevations. This vehicle would not be able to do what I need it to do. So some people do in fact NEED a pickup truck. Peter, your ideals are clouding your judgment.
Posted by: JosephT | 10 February 2009 at 10:34 AM
The Transit Connect is a worthwhile addition. But that mileage figure is not all that great versus a diesel PU. When and if there is a hybrid or a diesel Minivan, it will look down right poor.
It needs a six speed DSG soon, and hybrid config.
Posted by: Stan Peterson | 10 February 2009 at 11:15 AM
For thermodynamic analysis of a reciprocating engine, why not use a new state variable PV/T denoted by “Z” ? The value of Z represents the total energy level of engine working fluid which will not change when work is done on or by the working fluid or heat is transferred into or from the working fluid, such that no energy is created or destroyed at any time and anywhere in the working fluid. During a compression process, P is increased (taking as negative) and T is increased with positive sign. The negative work done on the working fluid is exactly equal to the increase of internal energy. During an expansion process, the positive work done by the expanding working fluid is exactly equal to the decrease of the working fluid internal energy.
For a constant volume air cycle 1-2-3-4-1, Z is equal to P1V1/T1. During compression process 1-2, P2/P1 = (V1/V2)k and T2/T1 = (V1/V2)k-1 where V1 is the cylinder volume when compression process begins and V2 is cylinder clearance volume. The pressure P2 and temperature T2, computed by these two equations respectively, satisfy P2V2/T2 = Z. For combustion process 2-3, T3 = T2 + Q+/cv where Q+ is the heat addition and cv is the specific heat of the air at constant volume. Then P3 = ZT3/V3 to make P3V3/T3 = Z. For expansion process 3-4, P4/P3 = (V3/V4)k and T4/T3 = (V3/V4)k-1 where V3 is the cylinder volume when the combustion process ends and V4 is cylinder total volume. A portion of Q+ is transferred into mechanical work and the remaining portion Q- is rejected from the cylinder at the end of the expansion process. By definition, the cycle efficiency is equal to (Q+ - Q-)/Q+ = 1 – Q-/Q+.
These two equations, P2/P1 = (V1/V2)k and T2/T1 = (V1/V2)k-1, are the only equations required for real engine performance analysis. During a compression process, the specific heat ratio k is the weighted average of all k values of compressed component gases. During a combustion process, the specific heat is the weighted average of all specific heat values of the combustion products. If fuel is injected for combustion, the Z value is proportionally increased. During an expansion process, the specific heat ratio k is the weighted average of all k values of gas components of the combustion products.
It is the common belief that P2/P1 = (V1/V2)k and T2/T1 = (V1/V2)k-1 are true only for an ideal gas. However conservation of energy must be true for any gas going through an engine process, these two equations must be true for engine working fluid as well. For gasoline and diesel engine combustion, the fuel and air are not well mixed and thus the combustion temperature T3 is not in equilibrium. Wherever the temperature T is higher than its average value, the pressure P and the volume V will automatically adjust themselves to reduce T (because of the second law of thermodynamics) to achieve equilibrium in Z.
Posted by: Pao Chi Pien | 10 February 2009 at 11:58 AM
I don't know why people seem to think that this is a pickup replacement when it is quite plainly a van.
GM and Ford's current commercial vans are antiques.This product should take over the low-end of the market in the same way that the Sprinter has taken over the high end of the market.
A friend told me that he just can't get over how good his Sprinter is, compared to a long series of Econolines, GMC and Ram vans. The Sprinter is more comfortable to drive, hauls more, has long-lasting brakes, requires less maintenance, and it still looks like new after four years. Oh yeah, and it uses less fuel.
Now it's GM's turn to sell a modern work van.
Posted by: Bernard | 10 February 2009 at 02:11 PM
Just because some people need a van doesnt mean anything about moped sales... Same here. A transit is to haul packages and other things not to haul a 20 foot long mcmansion countertop or the 16 foot long 3 ton pack of drywall or the blah blah blah...
Posted by: wintermane2000 | 12 February 2009 at 06:45 PM
In Europe, pickup trucks hardly exist. People who, in the US, would use a pickup truck use a van in Europe, whether it be a Sprinter, a Transit Connect or something in between. So, I see this as a replacement for a pickup truck and I stand by my statement that nobody "needs" a pickup truck. The other great thing about vans is that cargo does not fall out the back, causing a potentially deadly hazard for other motorists. A big dualie Sprinter can carry the same size stuff as a big pickup truck but do so more efficiently. Of course, you could equip a pickup truck with a cargo top in back and a six cylinder Diesel engine like the one in the Sprinter and get a similar effect, if you must have a pickup truck. I am disappointed, but not surprised to see this Transit Connect will not be available with a Diesel. Diesels are really ideal for trucks.
Posted by: Peter | 13 February 2009 at 10:05 AM
A quick look at Ford's UK web site
http://www.ford.co.uk/SBE/ConfigureyourVan/p=1204903584430 shows not only the Transit Connect, but all of their other vans and trucks available with a selection of diesels. They also have a Sprinter-like van series. Can they afford to retool and retire the Econoline? Would the Transit panel van sell here?
I think that there have been a few factors keeping the US big (but rapidly shrinking) three from bringing their small EU diesels to the US. The economic meltdown has made it even harder for them to change.
First, they probably didn't want to spend the money to bring diesels into US emissions compliance (passenger car and sub-8500lb). I don't know how far apart Euro 6 and the latest T2B5 limits are, but I believe T2B5 is more strict. Does anybody out there know if US sellers are limited in numbers or % of T2B5 and have to sell certain amounts of cleaner cars?
Second, most consumers still think that diesels stink, vibrate too much, are slow and are hard to start in the winter. They still remember the diesel V8 garbage made by GM 25 years ago.
Third, US refineries are not set up to make as much diesel or similar products as EU refineries due to different cracking methods. Many EU refineries utilize hydrocracking, which yields more and higher quality diesel fuel. Also, the US already imports lots of ULSD and would end up importing even more. Between stiff environmental regs and depleted oil fields, nobody seems interested in building more refineries here. This, plus the emissions issue, could be why the electrics are being brought in before the diesels.
Finally (this one is for the conspiracy theorists), maybe Detroit and the oil industry just didn't want us to conserve fuel.
Posted by: wesmontage | 13 February 2009 at 07:55 PM