What is it like to drive?
Nothing too ridiculous here, simply because we’re not going to be discussing on-the-limit behaviour or power-on oversteer unless you’re really committed. Strip away the bodywork and you’ll find a 68kWh battery mounted low under the floor of the e-Transit, just like in an electric car. The motor and associated gubbins is located aft near the rear axle, producing either 181bhp or 265bhp. Both versions have the same 318lb ft of torque on offer.
There’s nothing between the axles apart from brake lines and chassis – no driveshaft or exhaust, for obvious reasons. The rear suspension is heavy duty and fully-independent, which should mean reliable handling loaded or unloaded, though we’ve only tried it with a big, light wooden box lashed into the rear to show off the tie downs. Suffice to say, it rides unlike any Transit before it, a feeling accentuated by the lack of shake, rattle and roll. It’s a really quite serene place to spend time.
Noted. How fast is it?
As far as power goes, electric suits load lugging, simply because the available torque is always front and centre. No, it’s not very fast, but it doesn’t need to be – and it’ll keep up with traffic with ease, the one-speed box seamlessly pulling from the lights right up to about 50mph. There’s no space under the nose by the way, that’s set up with the electric control systems that cleverly mimic a crash structure, and also an under-nose mounted spare, should you option it.
Is it easy to drive?
Oh yes: a rotary dial in the centre console picks the gear, then you simply stop and go with the pedals. There’s a light regen braking system (push ‘L’ in the middle of the gear selector or tap the brakes), and three modes. Normal is for everyday stuff, ‘Slippery’ is for when it’s horrible out and you’ve got a load on, and ‘Eco’ downplays the top speed, acceleration and aircon to provide what Ford reckons to be an 8-10 per cent range advantage.
Useful if I’m in desperate need of a charge, right?
Indeed. It’s worth having if you need to scoot back to the depot for an 11.3kW slow charge (eight hours) or even slower wallbox (an overnight job) via the charge port on the nose. If you do get caught short out and about, there’s respectable 115kW DC fast charging, which should see 10-80 per cent in 34 minutes – though that will cost. And you'll have to try and fit the thing inside a charging bay without blocking access for everyone else. Interestingly there’s Ford Pass for charging aggregation/access, and it’ll bill back to wherever you want.
Other than that, there’s decent forward vision, back-up and top-down cameras on the right spec and a surprisingly nimble turning circle. When you add in the whizzy gear selector, you can punt the e-Transit around pretty much like a car. Albeit one with a 950-1,758kg payload that’s hellish to parallel park.