Ford made two important announcements today: (1) the company will launch its first battery electric commercial vehicle in 2010, and (2) it's partnering with Smith Electric Vehicles to make that happen. The vehicle in question is based on the company's Transit Connect platform and marks the first rollout in Ford's new electric vehicle plan, which includes:
- 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
Why start with the Transit Connect? In a press release, Ford says that the company chose that platform because of "its car-like driving dynamics, cargo capacity, accessibility and low costs of entry and operation". In other words, it'll be less expensive to convert, its price-point will be attractive to buyers, and it'll be a good test run for the consumer EVs to follow. Also: producing an electric commercial vehicle is slightly less risky than cranking out volumes of cars that may or may not collect dust on lots. Pretty smart.
The company hasn't published anything serious in the way of specs, but we know that the finished product will have a range of up to 100 miles per charge. That's probably fine for a lot of fleets--though it'll be interesting to see top speed and recharge stats. Also important to note: this is an all-electric vehicle, with no combustion engine for extended range. That, too, is likely okay for Transit Connect buyers, but EV car owners may want a backup plan for those return trips to the grocery store.