Ford unveiled a pure electric version its award-winning Ford Transit Connect small van at the Chicago Auto Show.
The 2011 Transit Connect Electric will use a Force Drive electric powertrain manufactured and integrated by specialty upfitter Azure Dynamics. It will be powered with Johnson Controls-Saft’s advanced lithium-ion battery technology
For Ford, the Transit Connect Electric is just one part of a broader electric vehicle strategy. Ford plans to bring three more electric vehicles to market by 2012.
That includes the Focus Electric in 2011 and two models that have not been disclosed: a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in 2012 and a next-generation hybrid in 2012.
The Transit Connect Electric will have a targeted range of up to 80 miles per full charge, and will be rechargeable using either 240-volt or standard 120-volt outlets. It will be ideal for fleet owners that have well-defined routes of predictable distances and a central location for daily recharging.
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.
When the vehicle is operating, battery power is provided to the drive motor through the electric powertrain’s motor controller. The motor controller uses throttle input from the driver to convert DC power supplied by the battery into three precisely timed signals used to drive the motor.
The onboard DC/DC converter allows the vehicle’s main battery pack to charge the onboard 12V battery, which powers the vehicle’s various accessories, such as headlights, power steering and coolant pumps.
In the Transit Connect Electric, the battery pack has been efficiently integrated without compromising interior passenger room and cargo space. The battery pack is expected to last the life of the vehicle.
The Transit Connect Electric is expected to offer lower cost of operation, because recharging with electricity is generally less expensive than refueling with gasoline. Users may also benefit from much lower maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle. Consider the following:
- The number of components typical in an internal combustion engine and transmission are dramatically reduced in an electric vehicle to just a few moving parts in the electric motor and transaxle, which results in much fewer parts to wear out or maintain
- Electric powertrains operate with solid state electronics, which have demonstrated low or no maintenance over the life of the product
- Electric vehicles have completely sealed cooling systems that do not require refilling, replacement or flushing
- Electric vehicles require no oil changes or tune-ups
- There are no belts to wear out or break and no spark plugs or injectors to clean or adjust
- There is no exhaust system to replace and no liquid fuel system to freeze or clog
- The use of regenerative braking reduces wear and tear on brake pads
Although there are significant differences between the Transit Connect Electric and its gas-powered twin, there are many things in common as well. Both models offer:
- 135 cubic feet of cargo volume with 59.1 inches of floor-to-ceiling load height and 47.8 inches of load width between the wheel arches
- Load length a generous 72.6 inches, or more than six feet of cargo floor space
- Split rear cargo doors that open at a standard 180 degrees, or an optionally available 255 degrees
- Lift-over height less than two feet when the vehicle is unloaded
- Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering allows a 39-foot curb-to-curb turning circle for maneuverability in tight urban spaces
- Bulkheads, racks, bins and other upfits can be mixed, matched and configured to suit many specific commercial applications and needs[wzslider height=”400″ lightbox=”true”]