The all-electric version of the world’s best-selling cargo van – the new Ford E-Transit – has undergone a punishing testing regime designed to recreate the effects of a lifetime of intensive customer use, ahead of going on sale early next year.
The testing saw the E-Transit complete 10 years’ worth of hard work in just 12 weeks incuding challenging winter driving conditions in Michigan, US; simulated extreme heat, cold and altitude in Ford’s Environmental Test Chamber in Cologne, Germany; and the giant potholes and rough road surfaces at the company’s Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium. Separate E-Transit testing is being conducted at the Dunton Technical Centre in Essex.
Ford demonstrates the extreme climate and durability testing that prototype E‑Transit panel van and chassis cab variants have experienced at Ford’s high-tech facilities in Europe and the US.
Ford punished the E-Transit through a rigorous series of tests to ensure it’s as durable as its diesel‑powered sister models. The no-compromises approach recreates the effects of more than 150,000 miles of driving – or a decade of hard work – for customers operating in the most arduous situations.
“We test all our vans in conditions above and beyond anything they are likely to face in the hands of customers”, said Andrew Mottram, chief programme engineer E-Transit, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe. “The all-electric E-Transit is no different – by pushing it to the limit in our controlled test environments, we can be confident that it will reliably serve our customers as they switch to all-electric power for their businesses.”
Ford’s Environmental Test Chamber can recreate conditions from the Sahara to Siberia. Engineers refined the all-electric powertrain and cabin environment for performance and efficiency by subjecting E‑Transit to over 40 degrees Celsius – hotter than the average desert – for two weeks using 28 spotlights with 4,000-watt bulbs. E-Transit’s battery pack features liquid-cooling technology for optimum performance in extreme weather.
The van also had to prove it could function at -35 degrees Celsius – colder than a typical Siberian winter – and with a full load making the punishing climb to 2,500 metres, as high as Austria’s Grossglockner High Alpine Road, one of the highest paved roads in Europe.
Thousands of passes over dedicated tracks of bumps, potholes and cobbles were performed at Ford’s Lommel facility, simulating cobbled streets, rough back roads and challenging un-made tracks from around the world.
Durability of the E-Transit’s battery pack, electric motor and unique rear suspension were tested by repeatedly driving the new model through mud and salt baths and through saltwater sprays, simulating winter roads and fords as well as testing the components’ corrosion resistance. The electric motor’s reliability was proven by running it continuously for 125 days.
E-Transit’s readiness for work will be further proven through extensive customer trials in the supermarket, utility and last mile delivery sectors beginning later this year. These trials will help Ford further improve customers’ experience of operating E-Transit, which offers productivity-boosting features including a lower-maintenance electric powertrain and next‑level connected vehicle technology.
The E-Transit is part of a major $30 billion investment by Ford into electrified vehicles by 2025. The company has stated its European commercial vehicle range will be 100 per cent zero-emission capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2024, with two thirds of commercial vehicle sales expected to be all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.