|The 2010 Ford Transit Connect. Click to enlarge.|
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.