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Expert Review

Ford E-Transit Panel Van HGV (2022 - ) Electric review

Aggressively priced and with performance and payload to humble rivals, the E-Transit is set to continue Ford’s dominance of the van market into the electric age

Dan Trent

Words by: Dan Trent

Published on 28 April 2022 | 0 min read

The Auto Trader expert verdict:

4.1

Available new from £66,055

Some rivals may have beaten Ford to the market with electric versions of their full-size vans but the Transit has arguably been well worth the wait, crushing the opposition with its power, range, payload, onboard technology and – most significantly – starting price. Its launch is also supported by the all-encompassing Ford Pro ‘ecosystem’, which wraps up financing, telematics, charging and servicing into a one-stop-shop. As such the Transit brings with it a huge support network to maximise ‘uptime’ and keep your electrified vehicles – and your business – on the move. Long the benchmark by which other vans are judged, based on this experience don’t expect the Transit’s dominant position to weaken one bit in the shift to electrification. Indeed, it’s arguably even stronger than ever. Click here for our review of the standard, internal combustion engined Transit.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickCompetitive pricing
  • tickPower and range
  • tickImpressive support services

At a glance:

2022 Ford E-Transit panel van

Cargo & practicality

The powertrain may be different for the E-Transit but the vehicle itself is the same as the more conventional diesel and hybrid versions, with no intrusion on the cargo space from the motor or battery. Available in L2, L3 and L4 panel van bodies with the option of H2 and H3 roof heights there are over two dozen combinations to choose from, with Double Cab in Van also available on the higher Trend trim level. Payload is king and comparing the 960kg of a L3 H2 350 Transit panel van against the Mercedes-Benz e-Sprinter or equivalent versions of the related Citroën ë-Relay, Peugeot E-Boxer and Vauxhall Movano-E shows the Ford can lug as much as 200kg more like for like, with a best-case of as much as 1,758kg. A nifty ProPower Onboard feature also means you can use the van’s huge battery to power and charge your tools on site, effectively turning your Transit into a giant mobile power bank.
Expert rating: 4/5
2022 Ford E-Transit panel van

Interior

See ‘Equipment’ for more on the onboard tech but, apart from the new SYNC 4 infotainment system, the E-Transit is the same as the standard version, so you’re on familiar ground here. In typical Ford fashion it’s not especially flashy but very functional, with lots of cupholders and places to stash your paperwork. Power adjustment for the driver’s seat on our top spec Trend test vehicle felt pretty luxurious for a working vehicle and it’s, as ever, a comfortable place to spend your working day.
Expert rating: 5/5
2022 Ford E-Transit panel van

Running costs

Electric vans represent a fantastic opportunity for switched on businesses to make big savings on everything from tax and fuel, not to mention congestion charging and other emissions related tolls. Benefit In Kind for owner-operators is just one example, and immediately saves you the best part of £60 per month compared with an equivalent diesel Transit. But taking charge of your own ‘fuelling’ for your fleet is the big one, which is where the Ford Pro support structure comes in. If you run vehicles from a depot Ford Pro experts can project manage everything from installation of charging hardware to billing, which is a huge bonus for hard-working fleet managers intimidated by the prospect of making such a fundamental switch to their way of working. Servicing is another cost Ford Pro can help manage, and there’s also the claim maintenance costs on an electric Transit could be as much as 40 per cent less than an ICE (internal combustion engine) one thanks to the simplicity of the electric drivetrain.
Expert rating: 5/5
2022 Ford E-Transit panel van

Reliability

The Transit’s no-nonsense toughness and reliability have endeared it to generations of users over the years and help explain its best-selling position in the market. With fewer moving parts, no need for fluid top-ups or jobs like cambelt changes that can have a vehicle off the road for days an electric van makes a lot of sense, Ford Pro’s major selling point being improved ‘uptime’ and availability for your vehicles so they spend more time on the road than in the workshop. Ford has a huge network of both dealers and approved repair shops as well, while the increasing capability of its mobile servicing means many jobs can be done without having to take the vehicle in, meaning you can get on with your day’s work while your Transit gets its service wherever your work has taken you.
Expert rating: 4/5
2022 Ford E-Transit panel van

Performance

The E-Transit uses an adapted version of the Mustang Mach-E passenger car’s drive unit powering the rear wheels, and the performance advantage compared with rivals like the e-Sprinter or the Peugeot, Vauxhall and Citroën trio is decisive both on the road and in terms of payload. All models use a 68kWh battery pack which, best case, should get you nearly 200 miles – more than double what an e-Sprinter can do, even with a 50mph limiter. Admittedly the warm weather of the Barcelona launch event flattered the E-Transit and you can lose up to a third of that range on a cold winter’s day but, however you cut it, the Ford can go further than its immediate rivals. It can do it faster as well, even the lower of the two outputs available outgunning rivals by some margin. To put that into numbers you can have the E-Transit in 135kW/184 horsepower or burly 198kW/269 horsepower versions, both with 430Nm of torque. For comparison an ë-Relay has just 120 horsepower and 295Nm. Even the lower-powered version we tried felt punchy with a 400kg payload onboard, accelerating smoothly and silently off the line in traffic and with plenty of acceleration for merging into fast-moving motorway traffic. If you spend long days on the road this and the refinement of an electric Transit will come as a real revelation, the fact there are no gears to shift also reducing driver workload. Where others offer lots of driving modes Ford has also kept things commendably simple, with just a simple 'B' mode for increased regenerative effect when slowing down.
Expert rating: 5/5
2022 Ford E-Transit panel van

Ride and handling

Transits have always handled well and the E-Transit feels just as good, if not even better, than the ICE version. That heavy battery pack may impact payload by around a couple of hundred kilos over a regular diesel one but the fact it’s under the floor of the vehicle brings the centre of gravity down, meaning the electric Transit feels nice and stable. The steering is well-weighted and responds predictably and accurately both around town and on faster roads and, while it’s a large vehicle, drivers of all experience levels will find it a pleasant place to spend the working day.
Expert rating: 5/5
2022 Ford E-Transit panel van

Safety

There’s a lot of tech available on the E-Transit, though the base-spec Leader model only comes with the basics like ABS, stability control and daytime running lights. Going up a grade to Trend adds a lot more, including automatic emergency braking, a lane departure warning with steering interventions to keep you between the white lines if you ignore it, cruise control, parking sensors front and rear and more besides. You can also add this as a bundled extras package to Leader versions if you require. Other options new to the E-Transit include an optional Reverse Brake Assist that can intervene if you look like you're about to back into an unseen obstacle.
Expert rating: 4/5
2022 Ford E-Transit panel van

Equipment

New for the E-Transit (as opposed to regular ones) is Ford’s latest SYNC-4 infotainment system, controlled by an impressive 12-inch screen in the centre of the dash. The graphics and functionality are a big step up from the SYNC-3 on other Transits, though we were less taken by the replacement of the manual heating and ventilation controls with on-screen touch-sensitive ones. It looks flashy but is harder to operate without taking your eyes off the road, which hardly feels like progress. While all E-Transits come with a standard modem to dial into to Ford Pro’s various connected functions through an app or other fleet management software back at base you need the Trend version for the Connected Navigation. This gives drivers more power over planning their routes around remaining range and charging stops, with live information on the latter to avoid making a time-consuming diversion only to find one that’s already occupied by another vehicle.
Expert rating: 4/5

Why buy?

It’s revealing that the E-Transit is considered merely a component of the Ford Pro package of products and support services available for fleet managers and businesses of all sizes. This recognises that, while many companies see the benefit of turning to electric vehicles, the challenges of making the switch can appear intimidating over and above the already demanding job of running a van (or fleet of them) for a business. You could, of course, still run an E-Transit outside of the Ford Pro world as a solo operator and, in this context, the power, payload and tech all comprehensively out-gun the immediate rivals. But Ford is offering a lot more than just an electric van. Then there’s the price. At the time of writing how this will play out with the Government plug-in grant remains to be seen but, even without that, the E-Transit is thousands of pounds cheaper than any of its direct rivals while also being way better equipped and more capable. Ford may have taken its time honing its electric Transit. But it’s used it wisely, and there’s every reason to expect the E-Transit to be just as dominant as the ICE powered ones that came before it.
Expert rating: 5/5

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