Fleet operators are among the early adopters of electric vehicles. That’s because their vehicles typically travel predictable, short-range routes with frequent stop-and-go driving in urban and suburban environments and they have a central location for daily recharging.
Well, Ford Motor Company has what may be the ultimate electric fleet vehicle going into production later this year – the zero-emissions, all-electric version of the Ford Transit Connect – the 2010 North American Truck of the Year.
The 2011 Transit Connect Electric will use a Force Drive electric powertrain manufactured and integrated by specialty upfitter Azure Dynamics.
Getting charged up and moving
Transit Connect Electric, which will accelerate at a similar rate as the gas-powered Transit Connect and will have a top speed of 125 km/h, has a targeted range of up to 140 kilometers on a full charge.
Owners will have the option of recharging the Transit Connect Electric with either a standard 120V outlet or preferably a 240V charge station, similar to your oven, installed at the user’s base of operations for optimal recharging in six to eight hours. A transportable cord that works with both types of outlets will be available for recharging at both kinds of locations.
The vehicle’s charge port is located above the passenger-side rear wheel well. The onboard liquid-cooled 28-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack is charged by connecting the charge port. Inside the vehicle, an onboard charger converts the AC power from the electric grid to DC power to charge the battery pack.
Driving on electric power
When the vehicle is operating, battery power is provided to the drive motor through the electric powertrain’s motor controller. The motor controller uses throttle input from the driver to convert DC power supplied by the battery into three precisely timed signals used to drive the motor.
The onboard DC/DC converter allows the vehicle’s main battery pack to charge the onboard
12V battery, which powers the vehicle’s various accessories, such as headlights, power steering and coolant pumps.
In the Transit Connect Electric, the battery pack has been efficiently integrated without compromising interior passenger room and cargo space. The battery pack is expected to last the life of the vehicle.
An ideal platform
- With a unique combination of car-like driving dynamics, cargo capacity, accessibility and low purchase and operation costs, the Transit Connect is an ideal choice for electrification.
- The Transit Connect Electric is expected to offer lower cost of operation, because recharging with electricity is generally less expensive than refueling with gasoline. Users may also benefit from much lower maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle. Consider the following:
- The number of components typical in an internal combustion engine and transmission are dramatically reduced in an electric vehicle to just a few moving parts in the electric motor and transaxle, which results in much fewer parts to wear out or maintain
- Electric powertrains operate with solid state electronics, which have demonstrated low or no maintenance over the life of the product
- Electric vehicles have completely sealed cooling systems that do not require refilling, replacement or flushing
- Electric vehicles require no oil changes or tune-ups
- There are no belts to wear out or break and no spark plugs or injectors to clean or adjust
- There is no exhaust system to replace and no liquid fuel system to freeze or clog
- The use of regenerative braking reduces wear and tear on brake pads