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Monday, May 25, 2009

Ford’s first Battery Electric Vehicle confirmed as the 2010 Transit Connect

True to their word Ford Motor Company has become the first of the big three to announce plans to market a pure battery electric-powered light commercial vehicle in North America. Based on the all-new Transit Connect global commercial vehicle platform, the Transit EV will be available in U.S. Ford dealerships in 2010.

The Transit Connect with battery electric power is the initial offering in Ford’s aggressive new electric vehicle plan to bring pure battery-powered vehicles, hybrids and plug-in hybrids to market. To start, 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
* Plug-in hybrid versions in 2012

The Transit Connect commercial platform is well suited to battery electric power. Its unique combination of car-like driving dynamics and large 800kg (1760lb) cargo capacity make it ideal for battery EV conversion. Smith Electric Vehicles, which has been making electric milk floats in the UK since 1920 have been subcontracted to take care of the EV conversion production line.

Electric vehicles offer significantly reduced operation and maintenance costs over the long haul. As commercial users generally clock a lot of mileage, Ford will gain valuable feedback to help fine tune it’s EV offerings to the consumer markets. There are also added incentives for companies to electrify their fleets offered by federal and regional programs.

Transit Connect has been designed, engineered and manufactured by Ford of Europe on a dedicated global commercial vehicle platform so expect to eventually see the Transit EV sold in many markets around the world. The combustion engine version of the Transit Connect is currently sold in 58 countries. A taxi cab variant is also in the works.

The electric van will give an expected maximum range of 100 miles on a single charge. Technical details have not yet been released, but we believe it has a top speed of up to 70 mph, is powered by a 50 Kw electric motor and has a 40 Kw/hr iron-phosphate lithium-ion battery pack supplied to Smith by Valence Technology.

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