2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric
Ford unveiled the all-electric version of the award-winning Ford Transit Connect, at the Chicago Auto Show.
Ford and Azure work together on gas-electric hybrids, but the Transit Connect Electric will be the first electric vehicle for both companies.
The Ford Transit Connect Electric will be powered with Johnson Controls-Saft’s advanced lithium-ion battery technology.
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.
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 75 mph, has a targeted range of up to 80 miles 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.
Driving on electric power
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
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