Ford E-Transit (2022) review

Date: Friday, January 21, 2022

On Sale: March 2022
Key Rival: Mercedes-Benz eSprinter

At last summer’s delayed CV Show in Birmingham, we were finally given some concrete details about the new electric Ford Transit van.

Considering the Transit is Britain’s best-known and best-selling large van, this was massive news. 

A 196-mile range was perhaps the biggest headline followed by the startling £42,000 (excluding VAT and the PiVG) starting price, which significantly undercuts its rivals. Then there is the power – a 198kW electric motor producing 265hp and 430Nm of torque. But the E-Transit is seemingly the gift that keeps on giving because Ford has also confirmed it will launch in the Spring with 25 variants, including short-, medium- and long-wheelbases panel vans with two roof heights. There’ll also be three different gross vehicle weights, so you can have an E-Transit van at 3.5t, 3.9t or 4.25t, giving you a maximum payload of up to 1,758kg for the panel van models and 2,090kg for a chassis cab. 

It’s by far the most complete line-up of any electric van currently on sale and is the most eagerly anticipated vehicle of the year. We got an early drive in a pre-production prototype at Ford’s plant in Kocaeli, Turkey where the van will be made alongside the more than 440,000 diesel models each year of the Ford Transit, Ford Transit Custom and Ford Transit Courier. 

As well as a 198kW motor, the E-Transit will also be available with a 135kW option – a less terrifying option for fleet managers who may be reluctant to give their drivers 265hp and will be more comfortable with the 181hp from the smaller motor. Despite nearly one third less power, it’s still a fast van not least because it retains the same amount of torque. That makes the E-Transit exceptionally eager to get off the line and with no gears to change its relentless in building speed. 

The 68kWh battery is bolted underneath the chassis of the van in a heavily protected casing, which lowers the centre of gravity even further than in other electric vans that tend to have the batteries squeezed in between the chassis rails. As a result, the E-Transit feels even more planted to the ground and the already responsive handling of the diesel van is improved further still.

Power is through the rear wheels, which is where the motor is located within the axle. The resulting construction is sizeable and has forced Ford to re-engineer the rear suspension, placing the new independent coil springs away from the chassis. 

Another noticeable characteristic of the E-Transit is how quiet it is to drive. Electric vans are always quiet but by having the motor in the rear of the van there’s now a long way between the driver and the most obvious source of noise. 

Thankfully there isn’t a great deal of wind or road noise around the front of the vehicle either, making the overall driving experience a relaxing one. 

The big downside of the rear-wheel-drive configuration, however, is that the load deck height for rear-wheel Transits is higher than other large vans. Given that these vans will likely find their way onto fleets initially, with home delivery and courier companies appearing to be the early adopters of electric vans, the additional 100mm from ground level to the floor compared to the diesel version is not insignificant. 

Inside the cab, the E-Transit is similar to the regular Transit with one major and noticeable difference – a large 12in infotainment screen that runs Ford’s latest Sync 4 system. The screen shows all the usual infotainment related items, wireless smartphone pairing, as well as being the brains behind the van’s integration with the FordLiive uptime tracking system and Ford Pass Pro enabling vehicle pre-conditioning, remote start, charging schedules and location. SYNC 4 will also get regular over-the-air, wireless software updates keeping the system current and up-to-date. More importantly the screen along with the digital display in the dash cluster shows information about the van’s driving modes, power consumption and battery status with an intelligent range predictor to give drivers a more accurate estimate of their range based on driving style, weather and traffic.

There are two different levels of regenerative braking and three driving modes to choose from with the braking controlled either via a button within the gear selection rotary dial or by using the brake pedal. 

Tap the brake pedal and you get a moderate level of braking but touch it for a second time and it increases, generating the same level of braking as the enhanced L mode. 

Driver modes include Normal for everyday driving, a Slippery option for wet conditions and an Eco mode, which limits the top speed, decreases the acceleration and reduces the fan speed for the climate control. 

When it comes to charging, a standard charge from a three-phase 11.3kW wall box will take just over eight hours, but if that’s not possible or you need a quicker top-up, the E-Transit has the ability to do rapid charging on a 115kW charger where a top-up from 15% to 80% will take a mere 34 minutes.

Two different trim levels will be available, with the entry-level models being a higher specification than the equivalent diesel model with air conditioning, keyless start, heated seats, Quickclear windscreen and heated electric mirrors. 

All vans also get the FordPass Connect modem that comes with a lifetime subscription to FordPass Pro or Ford Telematics Essentials and a year’s worth of access to the FordPass charging network is thrown in along with a one-year subscription to Ford Telematics for fleet customers. Trend models add a Ford Connected Navigation System, cruise control, Pre Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, lane departure warning, Lane-Keeping Aid and front and rear parking sensors.

The arrival of the E-Transit is a huge moment for the mass uptake of electric vans but Ford hasn’t simply thrown an electric drivetrain at the regular van. With new rear suspension, and enhanced connectivity it’s a huge step forward for the Transit and with new features like Ford Pro Power Onboard that allows you to run tools and lights off the vehicle’s battery it’s a game-changer for the people who are going to be using them too. 

Ford E-Transit Trend 3.9 L3H3

Price (ex VAT) £42,695

Price range (ex VAT) £41,695-£42,695

Insurance group TBC

Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls (battery 8yrs/100,000mls)

Service intervals TBC

Load length 3,494mm

Load width (min/max) 1,392mm/1,784mm

Load bay height 1,786mm

Gross payload 1,375kg

Load volume 13.3m3

Engine size/power 181hp/135kW

Range (WLTP) 196mls

CO2 0g/km




Its competitive price, battery range, driving characteristics, refinement, specification and load-carrying ability look set to make the E-Transit a game-changer for electric vans.


View The WhatVan Digital Edition