Ready For Some E-Camping? Ford Begins Shipping All-Electric E-Transit ‘Work’ Vans

Ready For Some E-Camping? Ford Begins Shipping All-Electric E-Transit ‘Work’ Vans

It’s early in the e-camper game, but eco-campers in the U.S. and elsewhere are likely happy to see that Ford is now shipping fully electric 2022 E-Transit vans. According to a press release by Ford, the vans are coming together at the Kansas City Assembly Plant, “the company’s first U.S. plant to assemble both batteries and all-electric vehicles in-house.” Ford has pledged $30 billion in EV manufacturing and vehicle development through 2025 to support the Mustang Mach E, F-150 Lightning pickup and the E-Transit vans. Expect more Ford EVs in the coming years.

Ford says that most work vans like the popular Transit (and E-Transit) are driven about 74 miles in a typical work day, so the E-Transit is packing a 68kWh battery good for about double that number in the van’s most basic configuration. Of course, highway-biased driving and added weight will see that number come down, but it’s a start at least. Companies like Winnebago, who have E-Transit camper vans in the planning and demo stages, have indicated they may be able to add more battery capacity. A Transit-based electric Winnebago prototype, built on a converted gas-powered chassis, has an 86-kWh battery said to be good for 125 miles.

With a eye towards turning an E-Transit work van into an electric camper, I went through Ford’s online configurator and selected the biggest, tallest, longest variant available and then added in tech and creature comforts like their Co-Pilot 360 sensor and camera package, the top-spec six-speaker SYNC audio and nav system, tinted windows all around, the 2,400-Watt A/C powerlet package and more. The rear cargo area only got a simple floor since it will have to be built out. Final price for the van before conversion efforts? Just a tick over $63,000, but that’s before a federal $7,500 incentive and as much as $5,000 from my home state of Oregon, bringing the final price close to $50,000. Not bad for a big electric van, seeing as how a fully-customized diesel Sprinter 4×4 I reviewed last year (below) rang in at close to $200,000. That leaves a lot of fiscal space for a very nice conversion.

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Once the camper conversion is dialed in, the range of a camper-spec E-Transit is likely going to be closer to 100 miles, which isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but charging infrastructure continues to get built (including by Ford), and plugging the E-Transit into a hot DC Fast charger will likely zap the batteries to full in about an hour, which sounds like a perfect time for a snack and a nap or a short walk. You just have to adjust your expectations and habits with electric vehicles on a long-haul trip and fill those charging stops with some fun and relaxation. You’ll be in a swank camper van, after all.

Hopefully, as battery technology improves, Ford made the van so it will be easy to upgrade the batteries for longer range in the future. And while electric range is a trade-off against gas-powered vans, power isn’t. Ford says the E-Transit’s electric rear-wheel drive powertrain will make 266 horsepower and 317 pound feet of torque. Ford also claims that long-term costs of the E-Transit will be lower as well, with a predicted 40% reduction in maintenance costs since the E-Transit won’t need oil changes, tune-ups and other services typically needed for engines and transmissions. The van’s powertrain and battery are covered for 100,000 miles or eight years.

While Ford offers a lot of options for the E-Transit, I was surprised to see they do not offer a roof-top solar panel option. Camper vans do a lot of sitting in one place, and with all that unused rooftop real estate, slathering on a large solar panel would be a likely popular option. Sure, it would take days to add in significant energy to the battery, but if the E-Transit is sitting for two weeks at a camping spot with no services or even in your RV parking spot at home, that’s free energy. Make it so, Ford.