Aim to Acclimate Customers to Electrification
Part of the testing will be around plugging in
The transition to commercial electric vehicles is even more problematic than what is going on in the light-duty sector. Rather than a personal choice that might be backed up with a non-EV alternative, a commercial EV is a business decision that needs to stand on its own. To ease the move to electric models Ford is launching the Pro pilot program that will add preproduction E-Transit vans to select fleets. Production E-Transits are planned to go on sale at dealerships in early 2022.
Penske Truck Leasing and National Grid are the first two companies that will add those E-Transits to their fleets. The goal is to test the BlueOval Charge Network in the real world plus add depot fleet charging tools to round out the charging experience. The fleets of the two companies span industries such as rental, delivery, service, maintenance, telecom and utilities, which should provide an opportunity to evaluate how the software and hardware systems work in a variety of environments and build the real-world use cases that are essential to commercial vehicle sales.
“We’re excited to collaborate with Ford Pro on the introduction and real-world testing of these new electric vehicles as the first truck rental and leasing company to do so,” said Art Vallely, president, Penske Truck Leasing. “We expect to see strong utilization and interest from customers making final-mile deliveries, regional deliveries, and eventually consumer use for smaller household moves.”
Rolling Out Around the Country
The E-Transits will show up at Penske’s Reading, Pennsylvania, facilities initially, but will next be added in Southern California. National Grad, a global energy management company and operator of several utility conglomerates, will use its initial E-Transit for regular home meter-reading routes to ensure it can perform the same operations now performed by the company’s gas-powered vehicles.
Penske will rent E-Transits to customers
“We are proud to be the first energy company in the Northeast to test out Ford’s electric van and collaborate with Ford Pro,” said Badar Khan, president of National Grid, U.S. “Over the next decade, National Grid will be moving to a 100 percent electric fleet for our light-duty vehicles and working to replace medium- and heavy-duty vehicles with sustainable options. Last year, we began testing electric backhoes and this year, e-vans could bring us closer to our goal of net zero emissions by 2050.”
These initial trials will feed into Ford’s further development of the E-Transit and aid in the development of training tools used to orient new customers to the ins-and-outs of operating a commercial EV.
“Beyond supplying all-electric vehicles to customers, Ford Pro is helping businesses determine better solutions for energy management and fleet efficiency,” said Ford Pro CEO Ted Cannis. “Our services link to the vehicle and into the entire operational environment of the business, which is the only way EVs will stick. Anything else is just disruptive to their business bottom line.”
More Ford E-Transit News:
First Ride: Ford E-Transit; F-150 Lightning
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