Is Ford Readying a Plug-in People Mover?


Yesterday Ford announced a new vehicle in its lineup called the Transit Connect Wagon.

It is based on the current Transit Connect cargo van except the new vehicle is designed to carry people rather than cargo.

It is a modern new riff on the minivan that Ford President Mark Fields says “gives young families and people on the go the fun-to-drive and efficient vehicle they’ve been looking for.”

“It’s an all-new, smaller seven-seater that has better mileage than larger vans and creates a segment of its own. Customers also will love the unique combination of style, adaptability and affordability this wagon brings,” Fields adds.

The vehicle is available in two different wheelbases, one with 5 seats and the longer with 7 seats.

The vehicle is smaller and lighter than traditional vans and can come equipped with Ford’s highly efficient 1.6-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine.  That combination says Ford will lead to better than 30 mpg in highway driving. “This powertrain makes Transit Connect Wagon the gas mileage leader among seven-passenger vehicles,” says Ford.

Where this gets even more interesting is the fact that Ford had sold (through now banktupt Azure Dynamics) a pure electric Transit Connect EV, which first went to market in 2010.  That vehicle provides 80 miles of driving range from a 28 kwh lithium battery, for $60,000.

It therefore is not much of a leap to suspect Ford may be readying an Energi version of this vehicle as well.  With the crossover C-Max Energi already on sale, and the Fusion sedan Energi coming next year, Ford could easily be prepared from an engineering and assembly perspective to offer a Transit Connect Energi later next year or 2014.

Considering the fuel efficiency, a 20 mile EV range with a near 40 hybrid mode mpg is not out of the question.

I have long been advocating for an automaker to create a practical plugin 7-seater for large families, and for the first time can see the possibility on the horizon.  I asked Ford EV spokesperson Wes Sherwood about this.

“We always are looking at options to build on our fuel economy leadership,” he says. “But cannot discuss future product plans.”

Categories: Ford


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8 Comments on "Is Ford Readying a Plug-in People Mover?"

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I love the idea. I wonder if they can make it a little less ugly.

hmmm I wonder if the C max energy power train would work as is.

It might not be powerful enough.

but nevertheless this is a good idea!

There’s a Brian on here that always posts about wanting a 7 seat EV as well. He will be pleased to read this speculative piece. 😉

The day is mine!

I am a Brian who wants a 6/7-seat hybrid or plug-in hybrid, but I don’t think I’m the one you are talking about.

If I hybrid/PHV TransitConnect appears I will seriously consider it, but I’m not holding my breath.

Toyota Estima = 3 generations of hybrid midsize minivan sold in Japan Toyota says it won’t import Estima to the USA because sales would cut into their profitable “big” minivan Sienna sales ( sigh ). Americans are forced into family vans getting 15-24 mpg COMBINED. Volkswagen T5 Transporter = VW makes a 2 & 4 Wheel Drive version in Europe and Mexico but cannot sell it in USA due to ridiculous “Chicken Tax” provision stuck into an anti-foriegn chicken sales bill passed in the 1960s which prevents foreign vans/trucks from being sold in America. Transporter is perfect for small RV conversions, passenger vans and small commercial uses. Mercedes Sprinter = 22 mpg commercial and passenger vans with turbo diesels and gas engines that outperform and outlast anything America has built. RV conversion companies love the Sprinter because consumers can buy an RV made from one that doesn’t get 5-12 mpg! Unfortunately the Chicken Tax makes the price unachievable for many. Sprinters are made in Dusseldorf, Germany, disassembled and reassembled in S. Carolina to get past the Chicken Tax rules. This makes them a high priced alternative for commercial and residential buyers. In Europe, Sprinter is available as a VW variant… Read more »

When reading hybrid car and EV websites, often you get
readers who respond negatively to chats about government
and how their decisions effect the auto industry.

Even though any talk about government involvement in
ANYTHING is bound to bring out partisan rants, and
commentary, you see how much government’s role in the
industry effects what we can buy and how.

Here, a lousey special interest payback inclusion way down
inside the hundreds of pages of an an otherwise
reasonable law preventing harm to home chicken farmers
has resulted in lots of wasted gasoline, and a stifling of
free market choices for every single American.

Let’s hope Ford will eventually give us a hybrid van
that is affordable and versatile. What they have to realize
is the pent-up market that has been boiling here.
How Fed Ex, DHL and every single small to large business
out there needs vans, and how Sprinters do not sell
in gigantic numbers like they do in Europe because
of the stifling up-front price we have to pay due to this
absolutely insane tax.

GM, Dodge, Ford? Build a DECENT, efficient van with
stand-up room inside ( High roof version ) with several
wheelbase options and watch them sell like
tacos at a marijuana convention!

Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I in finding It really helpful & it helped me out a lot. I am hoping to give something back and aid others such as you helped me.