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USA: Car review: 2012 Ford Transit Connect Electric

Much of the attention surrounding electric vehicles has been focused on cars like the all-electric Nissan Leaf and range-extended Chevrolet Volt. Ford, meanwhile, has developed a model for those who need more hauling capability by equipping its Transit Connect van with an all-electric drivetrain through a partnership with Azure Dynamics. The Ford Transit Connect Electric is available to both fleet buyers and regular consumers.

The Transit Connect Electric is just as refined as the gas-only model and offers improved acceleration, but it comes with a steep starting price of $57,400, about $35,000 more than the base price of the regular van.

One of the most obvious impressions of the Transit Connect when I last drove it was that its 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine felt a little weak, especially on the highway, and that was without much in the way of cargo on board. The Transit Connect Electric, by comparison, offers more robust acceleration at midrange speeds and doesn’t feel as burdened by the van’s weight. Throttle tip-in from a standing start is seamless, and the Transit Connect Electric builds speed easily and quietly. The van’s top speed is 75 mph.

Brake-pedal feel in alternative-fuel vehicles often isn’t that great, but it’s remarkably natural and linear in the Transit Connect Electric. Frankly, it’s better than what many conventional gas-engine models offer.
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