Ford Transit Connect electric
Ford Transit Connect electric. Click image to enlarge

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Ford Transit Connect electric

Chicago, Illinois – Ford Motor Company unveiled an electric version of the Ford Transit Connect commercial van today at the Chicago Auto Show and confirmed the zero-emissions small van will be in fleet operators’ hands later this year.

The 2011 Transit Connect Electric will use an electric powertrain manufactured and integrated by specialty upfitter Azure Dynamics.

“Transit Connect Electric exemplifies how we are leveraging our relationships as well as our hybrid and advanced powertrain programs to bring energy-efficient technologies from the laboratory to the street,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “Not only is this an ideal vehicle for eco-conscious fleet operators, it is an important part of Ford’s future.”

In addition to the Transit Connect Electric, Ford plans to bring three more electrified vehicles to market by 2012 – the Focus Electric in 2011, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in 2012, and a next-generation hybrid in 2012.

The Transit Connect Electric is well-suited for commercial fleets that travel predictable, short-range routes with frequent stop-and-go driving in urban and suburban environments and a central location for daily recharging. The vehicle, which will accelerate at a similar rate as the gas-powered Transit Connect and will have a top speed of 120 km/h, has a targeted range of up to 130 kilometres on a full charge.

Owners will have the option of recharging the Transit Connect Electric with either a standard 120V outlet or preferably a 240V charge station installed at the user’s base of operations for optimal recharging in six to eight hours. A transportable cord that works with both types of outlets will be available for recharging at both kinds of locations. The vehicle’s charge port is located above the passenger-side rear wheel well. The onboard liquid-cooled 28-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack is charged by connecting the charge port to a power outlet. Inside the vehicle, an onboard charger converts the AC power from the electric grid to DC power to charge the battery pack.

“We’re excited about the potential for our electrified vehicles,” said Praveen Cherian, program manager for the Transit Connect Electric, who added that today’s electric vehicle buyers are similar to early adopters of hybrid vehicles. “People were a little hesitant about hybrid technology at first, but now they accept it and embrace it. We expect the same will be true of electric vehicles.”

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