2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric
- Used Ford Transit Connect Electric
2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric Review
Though it will take almost 15 years to earn back the extra money you paid for the Transit Connect Electric in fuel savings, reviewers say it’s an admirable workhorse and has a more carlike ride than its gas-powered sibling.
Unveiled in 2010, the Transit Connect Electric is Ford’s first electric vehicle and the industry’s first battery-powered electric work van. The gas-powered Transit Connect, which has been on the market since the 2010 model year, has gotten good reviews for its small footprint and cavernous interior space. Both models come with Spartan interiors, but buyers have the option to upfit their cabins and exteriors to meet their needs.
The Transit Connect is one of the smallest work vans on the market. Its maximum of 129.6 cubic feet of cargo space is less than all other panel vans except the Chevrolet HHR, which maxes out at 62.7 cubic feet. While this may seem like a deterrent, Ford is betting that not all businesses need the 547 cubic feet of space offered in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and would rather have a vehicle that’s smaller, more maneuverable, and more fuel-efficient. To check out Ford’s latest discounts on upfits, check out our monthly Ford Deals page.
Ford says that the Transit Connect Electric will have a top range of 80 miles and a top speed of 75 mph, and can be completely charged in six to eight hours with a 240-volt charging station. Using a standard 120-volt outlet will take longer. It has a 28-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which is 4 kilowatt-hours larger than the Nissan Leaf’s battery, according to AutoblogGreen. According to Fox News, “Transit Connect Program Manager Praveen Cherian says the pack will last the expected life of the vehicle - which is estimated to be 10 years and 120,000 miles in fleet use.“ Ford says that the Transit Connect EV is great for fleets in urban and suburban areas because they perform best during short trips on congested roads, and they return to the same place every night, making charging a breeze. That’s an added bonus for businesses whose fleet travels locally and doesn’t have access to public charging ports.
But will the fuel savings be worth the high starting price of $57,400? Popular Mechanics doesn’t think so: “It's a long payoff though — assume $4 a gallon for gas and $0.11 per kwh, and the fact that the Transit Connect EV will have to travel well over 100,000 miles to save enough fuel to pay back the price premium.” Depending on their priorities, some business owners may want to buy the gasoline Transit Connect because it’s more affordable.
The Transit Connect Electric has not been test-driven by many reviewers. Popular Mechanics mentions that the Electric handles better than the gas-powered model, since the nearly-1,000-pound battery is placed under the floor, lowering the van’s center of gravity.
Overall, the Transit Connect Electric does not save enough gas for it to make sense in a purely financial sense. However, it can earn your company serious green cred, something businesses are aiming for. Plus, if gas prices are higher than $4 per gallon in your area of the country, it will take even less time to make up for the extra cost.
Other Vans to Consider
With the Transit Connect Electric, Ford has basically created the class of eco-friendly cargo and passenger vans. There aren’t any other electric vans on the market, but other vans on the market can get the same job done for less, though business owners will have to sacrifice the green cred the Connect Electric would earn them. The gas-powered Transit Connect starts at $21,200, only about 37 percent of the price of the electric model, which has an MSRP of $57,400. The EPA estimates that the gas model will get 21 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway, the best out of all work vans and most commercial vehicles on the market. The estimated annual fuel cost is $2,473. Overall, assuming that you’ll drive the Transit Connect an average of 12,000 miles per year, gas is $4 per gallon and electricity is $.11 per kwh, it will take almost 15 years of use for the Transit Connect Electric to earn back its high starting price in fuel savings. If you think you won’t be keeping your van around for 15 years, the gas-powered Transit Connect is the economical option.
If you can afford to wait until 2012, the Nissan NV is another viable choice. Starting at $24,590, the Nissan NV fits about halfway between traditional cargo vans and the Ford Transit Connect. Standard roof versions can hold 299.7 cubic feet of cargo, while high roof versions have a capacity of up to 420.5 cubic feet. Plus, the NV has the option to upgrade to a 5.6L V8 engine on higher trims. The gas-powered Transit Connect only offers a four-cylinder engine.
Currently, the Ford Transit Connect Electric is only being sold to fleet buyers through Ford’s partner company, Azure Dynamics. Not only is it not available to private buyers, but most dealers don’t even have a model in their showrooms. Nonetheless, we do know a few details about it. Ford says it will have a driving range of up to 80 miles on a full charge, and will be able to carry a payload of 1,000 pounds. It takes six to eight hours to charge the 28 kwh battery with a 240-volt outlet. With a standard 120-volt outlet, that number skyrockets to 27 hours. Ford expects the Transit Connect Electric to have a top speed of 75 mph.
The Transit Connect Electric and its gas-powered sibling have 135 cubic feet of cargo space, which is only 2.4 cubic feet less than the Chevrolet Suburban – and the Transit Connect has a significantly smaller chassis. The gas-powered Transit Connect can be configured with or without windows, and with seating for up to five, so look for similar options on the electric model. Ford has not announced a list of standard or optional features for the Transit Connect electric, but the base model of the gas-powered version comes with air conditioning, manual windows, manual locks, a front overhead storage shelf and an AM/FM/CD player with two speakers.
- "She's not looker, but the general consensus is that the Transit Connect gets the job done.” -- CNET
- “It's a plucky, enjoyable little beast of burden that delivers exactly what it says on the box: big space inside, carlike handling and a no-nonsense, durable interior.” -- Popular Mechanics
- “Press on the gas…uh, throttle….hmmm, accelerator pedal (that’s it!) and the AC/TC pulls away very normally, just the quiet, but noticeable whirr of the electric motor replacing the buzz of the four-cylinder engine to give it away. Our test drive was short, only a few miles on the kinds of city streets the vehicle will likely spend most of its time on, and within such confines it offers little to complain about.” -- Fox News