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Ford Continues To Bet Big On Electrification

Ford announced plans for an all-electric Transit van. This commercial vehicle joins Mustang Mach-E and F-150 as integral vehicles of Ford’s electrification plans.

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The Ford Transit, the best-selling cargo fan in the world, will get an all-electric version starting with the 2022 model year. Ford announced this week that the Transit will join the Mustang Mach-E and an EV version of the Ford F-150 as part of its electrification lineup. Ford’s chief operating officer Jim Farley said it best. “Commercial vehicles area critical component to our big bet on electrification.” The big bet on electrification is what is key to this statement. Ford has already committed itself to going “all in” on electrification with the Mustang Mach-E and the Ford F-150.

Ford's Electrification Vehicle Lineup
These two vehicles could be make or break for Ford’s “big bet”. I’ve written extensively, and perhaps exhaustingly about the Mach-E and shared my thoughts, both good and bad. And, as I’ve stated, my issue with the Mach-E was never with electrification, but rather with the use of the hallowed Mustang name on a crossover. My mind won’t change regarding that, but I also don’t want that to smudge my opinion on the Mach-E, or Ford’s EV plan. To be clear, I’m pro-electrification.

When I recently rode in the Mach-E it was everything I expected it to be. As is the case with all EVs, it was torquey and exhilarating. Driving should be fun and EVs are fun to drive. I would expect the electrified F-150 that will come out sometime in 2021 to be the same and also have incredible towing ability. Heck, Ford already showed it off when that EV F-150 pulled over a million pounds of trucks on a train.

Changing the consumer mindset as it relates to electrification
Farley went on to say about the EV Transit, “As leaders in this space, we are accelerating our plans to create solutions that help businesses run better, starting with our all-electric Transit and F-150. This Ford Transit isn’t just about creating an electric drivetrain, it’s about designing and developing a digital product that propels fleets forward.”

Ford realizes, that despite some push back from consumers who are apprehensive about electrification, that EVs are the future. As consumers focus on reducing their own carbon footprints, more and more businesses are setting ambitious sustainability goals. Cities, meanwhile, are weighing increasingly stringent rules to address CO2, air quality and noise reduction goals. “The world is heading toward electrified products and fleet customers are asking for them now,” said Farley. “We know their vehicles operate as a connected mobile business and their technology needs are different than retail customers. So Ford is thinking deeply on connectivity relationships that integrate with our in-vehicle high-speed electrical architectures and cloud-based data services to provide these businesses smart vehicles beyond just the electric powertrains.”

Mustang Mach-E, white, Chicago Auto Show

At this time there’s no information about the Transit EV as far as range or pricing. Ford says more will be released regarding that in the future.

But what this shows is Ford is betting big on electrification. Some perceive this as cramming something down an unwilling consumer’s throat. Change isn’t easy. But whether you like or not, EVs are coming. It’s wise for Ford to engage in such a way in this technology. It will take time and transition for the consumer, which includes commercial consumers who buy the Transit as part of their fleets, to fully embrace electrification. There will be early adapters to this and late-to-the-gamers too. My best advice to all of you, especially if you are loyal to the Blue Oval, is to embrace it. Electrification is the future of automotive, like it or not.

See you in my next story, in which I discuss Ford F-150 recalls surrounding headlights.

Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. In addition to being a nationally syndicated automotive columnist, Jimmy has been published in a compilation book about children growing up with disabilities, where he shared his own very personal experience. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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