Package delivery is about to get a lot greener. An electric version of the Ford Transit cargo van will launch in the United States and Canada for the 2022 model year.
Details on the electric Transit will be revealed at a later date, but Ford noted that the North American version will be built in the U.S.
Note that Ford previously announced that a European-market electric Transit would debut in calendar year 2021. It's unclear if there will be any significant differences between the European and North American versions.
In Europe, the electric Transit will compete with the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter, an electric version of the German automaker's full-size van. But Mercedes does not plan to offer the eSprinter in the U.S., leaving Ford essentially unchallenged in this niche.
The only other options for U.S. buyers seeking an electric delivery van are conversions of internal-combustion vans, or vans from smaller firms like Workhorse and Chanje.
2020 Ford Transit cargo van
Rivian has entered into an agreement to develop electric vans for Amazon, but hasn't discussed selling them to other buyers.
It's a pattern we've already seen with smaller electric delivery vans. The electric Transit Connect never materialized, nor did a hybrid version teased at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Nissan sells its NV200 van in the U.S., but not the electric e-NV200 version.
Nonetheless, delivery vans are ripe for electrification. They tend to operate within a set radius of a central terminal for "last mile" delivery, so charging infrastructure is less of an issue.
Fleet operators will likely notice the cost benefit of not having to pay for fuel, as well as lower maintenance costs than gasoline or diesel vans.
At the same time, urban residents will likely appreciate the elimination of noise and exhaust fumes from idling vans.