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2022 Ford E-Transit first drive review: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, now electric

We readily admit that the hubbub around Ford’s electrification plans is focused around the upcoming F-150 Lighting. As the first mass market electric pickup, it’s obvious it’d be getting the attention. But when it comes to mass market electrification, Ford is hitting a different product first.

That product? Transit.

Part of a larger consolidation of all of Ford’s commercial interests under one roof, the 2022 E-Transit is here to electrify everyone’s van needs — from last mile deliveries to limos — in an effort to lower carbon emissions, save the environment, and to ultimately lower operating costs for fleet managers.

That’s why we’re in Sonoma County, California. We’re here to drive the all new E-Transit as well as take a bigger look at Ford’s electrification and Ford Pro plans. While we’ll talk more about that effort in future articles, this story is all about the E-Transit.

The E-Transit is a Transit with an electric motor and battery pack. The battery has a usable capacity of 68 kWh and can be charged by either 11 kW level 2 AC charging, or up to 115 kW DC fast charging.

The battery pack is positioned between the outer frame rails, cradled to the subframe. This means there’s no loss of interior cargo volume, and also any type of Transit upfit will work on E-Transit.

Let me say that again.

Every single Transit upfit you can purchase today, or that you already have equipped to your gas-powered Transit will fit on E-Transit.

In fact, Ford is offering E-Transit in every single configuration that it currently offers in Transit. That means there are three different lengths and three different roof heights.

Don’t want a back at all? You can get the E-Transit in a chassis-cab and cutaway variants.

Power is made by 266 hp electric motor sending that and 317 lb-ft of torque to the rear axle. Cargo van capacities have payload up to 3,880 pounds. Range is up to 126 miles, if you opt for the short wheelbase, low roof version. For the opposite end of the spectrum, expect a range of 108 miles.

Being a Class 2B commercial vehicle, Ford is not obligated to EPA test Transit. However, Ford assures me that it used the light duty EPA test cycle when determining range, with weight included in the van to better real-world estimate range.

Speaking of range, Ford is adamant that for many buyers, 126 miles of range is enough. How do they know? Telematics.

Ford has equipped its vehicles with modems for several years now, and have analyzed over 30 million miles of data to determine how far people are driving their vans.

You might “feel” like you need more range than that, but you really don’t. That’s a key detail that helps keep the cost down and operating costs more manageable. Why have a bigger, heavier battery if you don’t need it?

The 2022 E-Transit comes standard with equipment you wouldn’t necessarily expect, including a massive 12-inch touch screen with wireless Apple Car Play and wireless Android Auto.

That screen also keeps track of charging, controls features like the available 2.4 kW Pro Power Onboard system, and can even direct you to a charging station if you are in need.

Autonomous emergency braking and lane centering comes standard along with automatic high beam headlights, and buyers can choose to upgrade to a full adaptive cruise control suite, and traffic sign recognition. An available 360-degree camera makes maneuvering the very large van much easier.

During our test drive I was able to test that out and the turning circle as I accidentally took a wrong turn. When you’re in the longest version of the van, with no rearview mirror inside the cab, visibility can be a bit limited.

For old hats, I’m sure it’s a piece of cake. I, however, was glad to have the extra cameras and sensors to help prevent me from crashing over some expensive grape vines.

That’s why this driver assistance stuff is so great. It helps prevent crashes, which of course helps save lives, but it also helps reduce downtime. And for drivers who are new, it puts them at ease when driving, reducing stress which reduces mistakes.

When it comes to actual driving impressions I must say that it drives exactly like a Transit. That’s a good thing. There’s very little learning curve to going from gasoline to electric.

Acceleration is brisk enough, for a van, and the steering is light without being too light. Our test vans all had 1,000 pounds of rubber mats in the rear, which of course helped ride quality, but handling was still pretty great all things considered.

The seats are comfortable and it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position. The roof is also high up, meaning even the Yao Ming-est of drivers will be able to drive comfortably.

You could spend hours behind the wheel and be perfectly happy.

Adding to that happiest is the lack of noise. Depending on upfit, you might hear some creaks and rattles, but you won’t hear a motor humming away. It’s also freakishly quiet for a commercial van, and might take some time to get used to for seasoned drivers.

But the quietness is the point, in many cases. Running on electricity only means that operators won’t be subject to noise restrictions that might be in place. The silent onboard generator means work can still happen when the gas powered equipment has to go home.

The E-Transit is likely going to be the cleverest tool in your toolbox.

So how much does it all cost? Well, for a base, cutaway van, expect to shell out $44,990 with delivery. The cargo van variety starts at $48,880. Pricing heads up from there, with top end models in the $60,000 range.

That’s all before a federal tax incentive, plus any state or local incentives that might be out there.

To help figure out your overall cost, you should reach out to your nearest Ford Pro retailer because they’ll have all the information you need, including specific pricing for your needs, and will help set up charging infrastructure and telematics solutions for you. Ford’s making a concerted effort to be a trusted adviser throughout the entire process.

The 2022 E-Transit won’t be for everyone, but it’s for more people than you might originally think. If you like the Transit, you’ll like the E-Transit just as much. Clever packaging, smart details, and a new support network makes it a compelling addition to your fleet.

Written by Chad Kirchner
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