The Transit Connect Electric will be Ford's first battery-electric vehicle, ahead of the Ford Focus Electric, which will be offered to regular consumers in 2011. The gas-powered Transit Connect, which is already on sale in the U.S., is intended as a lower-cost, higher-mileage alternative to full-size commercial vans. The electric version is a natural for commercial and fleet use because many such vehicles travel a predictable number of miles in a day and are parked in the same location where charging points are assured.
Start-stop city driving — as a delivery van would experience — also plays to an electric vehicle's strengths. Ford says the TCE has a range of up to 80 miles and can charge from a fully depleted state in six to eight hours on 240 volts. Although 120 volts is an option, charging takes longer. The van's top speed is 75 mph.
Like the gas-powered Transit Connect, the Electric will be manufactured in Turkey, but the electric drivetrain will be installed by motor supplier Azure Dynamics at a location to be determined in Michigan.
Also at the Chicago show, Ford introduced a Transit Connect taxi that uses gasoline but can be converted to run on propane or compressed natural gas, adding yet another alternative drivetrain for the model.