NEWS

2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric at 2010 Chicago Auto Show

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  • Competes with: Commercial vans and minivans
  • Looks like: A Transit Connect with a power cord
  • Drivetrain: 300-volt (nominal) electric motor rated at 173 pounds-feet of maximum torque; 28 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack; single-speed transmission; front-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Late 2010 for commercial sale

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.

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Former Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder, a Cars.com launch veteran, led the car evaluation effort. He owns a 1984 Mercedes 300D and a 2002 Mazda Miata SE. Email Joe Wiesenfelder

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