Ahead of the reveal of its E-Transit electric van, Ford released results of a survey showing that many consumers want delivery services to use electric vehicles.
The survey was conducted by Ford and Google in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany. Of Americans surveyed, 54% said they would choose an electric-powered delivery service over a gas-powered one, if price and arrival times were the same.
All the more surprising, perhaps, 43% of Americans surveyed also said they would wait longer for a delivery via zero-emission van.
The results indicated that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the carbon footprint of delivery services. More than 60% of Americans surveyed said they cared about the environmental impact of vehicles used by delivery services, up 12% from earlier this year, when Ford conducted a similar survey.
Electric delivery vans have become more relevant in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting increase in online shopping. E-commerce sales and deliveries increased 32% in the second quarter of 2020, and 44% from the same period in 2019, Ford noted, citing United States Department of Commerce data.
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Ford hopes to capitalize on these market conditions with its E-Transit van, which is scheduled to be unveiled online November 12. But other companies are developing their own electric vans.
The U.S. Postal Service began testing somewhat larger 1.5-ton electric delivery trucks in California last year. The Postal Service is also looking to replace its aging fleet of Grumman Long-Life Vehicle (LLV) mail trucks, which began plying mail routes in 1987. Two electric models were among the four finalists announced last year.
Ford rival General Motors is also reportedly developing an electric van with fleet use in mind, which could arrive as early as 2021.
While Ford, Rivian, and Arrival are changing the powertrains of delivery vans, they aren't really changing the size. Smaller, simpler, electric vans are still missing at this point. The Nissan e-NV200 still isn't sold in the U.S., and Ford hasn't discussed plans for an electric version of the smaller Transit Connect.