The 2022 Ford E-Transit pilot program began in Europe back in August and consists of a total of 10 prototypes in a variety of configurations that are being tested by different companies in different industries and sectors. Now, the U.S.-based 2022 Ford E-Transit pilot program is underway as well, with Penske Truck Leasing and National Grid recently taking delivery of pre-production versions of the new all-electric van for testing purposes.
Penske – the first truck rental and leasing company to do so – will be testing an E-Transit van in Reading, Pennsylvania with an eye toward expanding its fleet considerably over the coming years. Meanwhile, National Grid – a global energy management company and operator of several utility conglomerates – recently took delivery of a pre-production low-roof E-Transit cargo van that it will test on regular home meter-reading routes.
The E-Transit vans will be tested in a variety of industries, including rental, delivery, service, maintenance, telecom, and utilities, prior to the model entering production later this month and launching early next year. In addition to giving these companies a chance to evaluate and validate the E-Transit, the trials also give Ford an opportunity to demonstrate how going electric can be beneficial to commercial customers – an important task, given the fact that Ford Pro CEO Ted Cannis recently admitted many fleet customers are wary of making the switch.
In addition to the pilot E-Transit vans, commercial customers will also get to test out Ford Pro Intelligence and Ford Pro Charging solutions to see how those new services can improve efficiency and minimize downtime. These services help identify the most efficient routes, monitor charging, track vehicles and state of charge, charging history and logs, range, and how to pre-condition batteries before departure to maximize efficiency.
While the E-Transit vans are being tested, Ford will also be using the data collected, as well as feedback from its customers, to develop training tools and fine-tune its products and services. “Beyond supplying all-electric vehicles to customers, Ford Pro is helping businesses determine better solutions for energy management and fleet efficiency,” Cannis said. “Our services link to the vehicle and into the entire operational environment of the business, which is the only way EVs will stick. Anything else is just disruptive to their business bottom line.”