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USA: Review of the 2012 Ford Transit Connect Electric

An electric version of the popular Transit Connect, 80 mile range, excellent speed and handling, and offers savings to fleet owners. It was shown today in the San Francisco leg of Ford’s Power of Choice tour demo’ing the carmaker’s line of eco-friendly vehicles.

The Ford Transit Connect is a popular delivery van type of vehicle, and the internal combustion version is popular world-wide. The 100% electric version driven for this review is in limited production for Ford, by Azure Dynamics. The Transit Connect is primarily targeted to fleet owners, who are expected to be interested in an electric truck for pragmatic business reasons due to savings in “fuel” and maintenance.

The Transit Connect is a light duty truck originally designed for Ford Europe, and is imported to the US from Europe. It has existed since 2002, and the electric version has been on sale since December 2010. It’s a very utilitarian vehicle with a plain passenger cabin and a rear cargo area that’s highly customizable to carry cargo, tools, workbenches, or even seating to make it into a people carrier. The customizability makes it suitable for any business needing a medium size light duty van.

The driver has good visibility out the large windshield and ample mirrors. The rear view mirror doubles as the display for a backup camera when the transmission is shifted into reverse. You turn on the electric version in a manner similar, for an unknown reason, to how you start a gasoline car. In a gas car you turn the ignition key all the way to where the engine is started, and once the engine starts you release the key so it snaps back to the “on” position. The electric Transit Connect starts the same way, where you turn the key all the way, some dashboard lights turn on, you release the key which snaps back to the “on” position, and you’re good to go. For an electric vehicle this is unnecessary as there is no engine that has to start, and it would be sufficient to simply turn the key from an “off” to “on” position, however this design may be to give delivery truck drivers a familiar driving experience
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