6633c717cc1b0b0008dbee32 Ford Etransit Warehouse

Ford E-Transit gets practical upgrades

May 2, 2024
Based on pure necessity and customer demands, the next generation of one of the first electric commercial vans to hit the market gets enhanced range, faster charging, and onboard power capabilities

Ford’s upcoming 2024 E-Transit van will receive a few upgrades—thanks to customer feedback, advanced technology, and the learnings of the vehicle’s engineering team.

The Ford E-Transit was first introduced in 2022. A revolutionary vehicle, being one of the first electric commercial vans to market, the vehicle has had time in the field to prove itself—and alert the vehicle maker of any improvements or adjustments necessary to best serve Ford’s commercial customers. This time helped generate updates to the vehicle to come this year, such as more range, faster charging, and onboard power.

Some of these updates are natural—such as extending the range, which Ray Eyles, chief program engineer for Ford Transit vans, said was always going to be a goal and would be made possible through the advancement of EV technology. Other updates are customer-driven—such as Ford’s new, faster-charging solutions.

Improved range for E-Transit

“The first-generation E-Transit that we launched over two years ago was what we could achieve with the technology at the time,” Eyles told FleetOwner, referring to the vehicle’s range. “We knew that it wasn’t going to work ... for all customers.”

The E-Transit engineers knew that range would have to be improved when developing the next generation of E-Transit. Eyles said the only way to accomplish the task was to consider a larger or higher-density battery pack. “We’re not going to make the vehicle any larger, so the only way to increase the onboard energy was really to increase the energy density,” Eyles explained.

The team accomplished this by “packing energy cells a lot tighter” in the battery pack. As a result, the 2024 E-Transit has an estimated range of 159 miles on low-roof cargo van models with 89 kWh of usable energy. This is an increase of 26% on low-roof and a 32% increase on high-roof models of the previous generation.

This extended range doesn’t sacrifice performance. The new-generation commercial van maintains the same 266 hp and 317 lb.-ft. of torque that current E-Transit owners are accustomed to. However, packing energy cells more densely into the battery pack does increase weight, Eyles told FleetOwner. So, while Ford announced a new battery pack with an enhanced range, it’s keeping the previous-generation battery pack as a standard option to ensure all fleet owners' needs are met.

“We’re basically trying to satisfy multiple different customers,” Eyles said. “There are customers who really value the payload, and they’re prepared to go with a short range. There are other customers who are prepared to sacrifice some payload in order to get the range.”

Like others in the industry, Eyles believes that as time progresses, EV and battery technology will advance, helping engineers understand thermal management and opening opportunities for increased range and less vehicle weight.

“Everybody is constrained by thermal constraints around how much energy density you can pack into it, so you’ll see that will change in the future,” Eyles told FleetOwner. “We’ll get more and more energy density that will increase the onboard energy we have on the vehicle but will also increase the weight of that pack. Then you’ll see other things where, as we redesign platforms ... there will be future generations of products that will optimize the vehicle around [the electric power pack], and you’ll get an overall vehicle weight reduction.”

Fast charging the E-Transit 

One customer-driven Ford E-Transit improvement was faster charging.

“We recognize customers want to be able to AC charge overnight, so you really want an eight-hour charge time to go from zero to 100%,” Eyles told FleetOwner. “As you increase the size of the energy storage in the battery, in order to meet that customer’s requirement for eight-hour charge time, you’ll need to increase the charging rates.”

Ford accomplished this with dual onboard chargers and additional charging hardware solutions. These solutions help bring faster charging to E-Transit customers, allowing the vehicle to charge at a peak power of 176 kW. This means that the new E-Transit will charge from zero to 100% in just six hours and 11 minutes—if the customer uses the new Ford Pro Series 2 80A charging station, which is recommended for the 2024 E-Transit with the enhanced, extended-range battery. With a DC fast charger, the E-Transit (with a cargo van low-roof configuration) can charge up to 67 miles of range in just 15 minutes.

The updated charging solutions from Ford Pro are integral to achieving that faster charge time. These include the Series 2 80A charger and the Series 2 48A charger. The recommended charger for the enhanced-range E-Transit battery, the Series 2 80A charger, maximizes battery power output at faster charging speeds. The Series 2 48A charger features replaceable cables, a new LCD screen, and cellular connectivity.

More onboard power with the 2024 Ford E-Transit

For businesses that require auxiliary power on the job, the E-Transit is also now available with its own onboard power: Pro Power Onboard. This gives customers 2.4 kW of power to run equipment, charge devices, and more. It’s also available while the vehicle is powered off and while the vehicle is charging.  

Pro Power Onboard is fully integrated with the E-Transit, as Ford has provided a second high-voltage outlet from the EV battery pack and connects that to an onboard generator. The generator then converts the 400v DC supply from the battery to a 110v or 220v AC supply, Eyles explained to FleetOwner. Pro Power Onboard has already been proven and used in the RV industry with Winnebago, Eyles said.

Commercial vehicle owners can think of Pro Power Onboard as a fully integrated “light” ePTO, Eyles said, and any tool or function that requires more power than 2.4 kW will need to graduate to an actual ePTO. However, “2.4 kilowatts of 110v covers the vast majority of what upfitters would fit as a separate inverter in a gasoline transit,” Eyles assured.

Trialing the E-Transit in your business

During Ford Pro’s press conference at this year’s Work Truck Week, the brand invited actual fleet leaders to discuss their experience with the E-Transit. A resounding theme of each of the fleet leaders’ comments was to encourage others to simply take the leap and test an electric vehicle in their fleets. Eyles echoed that sentiment. 

“Get one, start trialing it, and working out what works for you. Work at how to adapt your operations,” Eyles said. “Today, operators are taking their existing operation and trying to put an electric vehicle into their existing operation. The next step will be how do you adapt your operation to suit the electric vehicle and where is the optimum place?”

Perhaps the new E-Transit’s enhanced range and faster charging methods will help EV skeptics see whether an electric vehicle could work in their fleet. 

Orders are now open for the next-generation Ford E-Transit.

About the Author

Jade Brasher

Senior Editor Jade Brasher has covered vocational trucking and fleets for the past five years. A graduate of The University of Alabama with a degree in journalism, Jade enjoys telling stories about the people behind the wheel and the intricate processes of the ever-evolving trucking industry.