When an automaker doesn't offer a vehicle for a specific market segment, sometimes the aftermarket will fill in the gap.

In the U.S., all-electric commercial vans are one of those gaps.

Such vehicles are available in other markets, but so far, not on sale from major makers in North America.

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Nissan, for example, sells its e-NV200 in Japan and Europe but in not the U.S., despite the fact that it sells the gasoline-powered NV200 here (and Chevrolet sells the same vehicle as the City Express as well).

At the recent 2017 Detroit Auto Show, a pair of aftermarket companies announced a possible offering for companies wanting an electric delivery van.

It's an all-electric conversion of the Ford Transit full-size van, marketed by Inventev and New Eagle.

2017 Ford Transit Wagon

2017 Ford Transit Wagon

Under the arrangement announced by the two companies in Detroit, Inventev will perform the conversions and serve as distributor, while New Eagle will supply electric-powertrain components.

While a Transit was used as the initial "proof-of-concept" test vehicle, the partners said they haven't yet chosen a model to base the final production version on.

Several automakers "offer products that are well suited for the up-fit," according to a joint Inventev and New Eagle press release.

MORE: VW e-Crafter, Mercedes Urban e-truck concept: electric vans for Europe (Sep 2016)

New Eagle currently advertises a Ford Transit electric conversion kit on its website, including a 135-kilowatt (175-horsepower) motor, and options for battery packs ranging from 25 kilowatt-hours to 75 kWh.

Converted vans have a range of 25 to 125 miles per charge, depending on battery-pack size, the company says.

The two companies hope to have a production electric-van conversion ready by the 2018 model year, and will focus on commercial-fleet sales.

2017 Ford Transit Wagon

2017 Ford Transit Wagon

Ford itself is also working on electrified vans, as part of a recently-announced effort to launch 13 new hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric models over the next five years.

In another corner of Detroit's Cobo Center, the automaker displayed a prototype Transit Connect Hybrid taxi during the auto show.

Ford will also begin testing Transit Custom plug-in hybrid vans in London this year, ahead of a planned 2019 launch.

However, neither of these vans are all electric, and both are based on smaller models that just happen to share a name with the full-size Transit.

For more Detroit coverage, head over to our auto show news page.


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