The automaker today announced plans that it will replace the venerable E-Series—the official name for what's better known by the U.S. public as the Econoline—with a version of its new full-size, rear-wheel-drive Transit van, powered by a turbocharged, EcoBoost V-6 engine.
The benefits could be wide-reaching, ranging from better fuel economy to lower operating costs and increased safety.
But for now, the new engine is the story, with these vans due to receive what's essentially the same engine that Ford has been installing into its 2011 and 2012 F-150 pickups. The EcoBoost engine is rated at 16 mpg city, 22 highway in two-wheel-drive versions of the F-150. And it's likely that the EcoBoost Transit will get ratings in that same range, as Ford stated that the new models should achieve fuel-efficiency improvements of more than 25 percent, versus the E-Series vans.
The current 2012 Ford E-150—the light-duty version of the van—gets just 13 mpg city, 17 highway with the 225-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 or 12/16 mpg with the 5.4-liter V-8.
Likewise, the larger of those two engines, the 5.4-liter, makes 255 horsepower and 350 pound feet; the new EcoBoost V-6, if it carries the same ratings as the F-150, could make 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet.
The EcoBoost engine relies on turbocharging, high-pressure direct injection, and key engineering improvements that allow this engine not only to run well on regular-grade gas, but also to haul heavy loads.
“The engine has revolutionized the half-ton pickup segment for F-150 and we're expecting it will have the same effect on commercial vans,” said Tim Stoehr, the marketing manager for Ford Commercial Trucks, in a release.
Key to the fuel-economy improvement, in addition to the advanced engine, is that the Transit saves at least 300 pounds versus comparable E-Series models.
Currently, commercial (Van) and passenger (Wagon) versions of the E-Series are sold—with Vans used by everything from delivery companies to plumbers and various installers, and Wagons put into use as smaller shuttle vans. With Ford's preview of the next-generation Transit—previewed in next-generation form as the considerably less frumpy Tourneo Concept, at Geneva—it's likely that the Transit will be offered in the same way.
Ford has invested $1.1 billion into its Kansas City Assembly Plant, where the Transit will be built in 2013, next to the F-150 pickups.