In the Transit Connect, its 28-kilowatt-hour "Force Drive" powertrain boasts an 80-mile range and a top speed of 75 mph. If the range seems low, consider the Transit Connect EV is aimed at "fleet owners that have well-defined routes of predictable distances and a central location for daily recharging," as Ford's press release says.

When the juice runs try, the charge port above the passenger rear wheel can be connected to a 240-volt or standard 120-volt outlet. A full charge takes six to eight hours, and Ford estimates the pack will last the lifespan of the vehicle. The battery pack doesn't impede on space either, as the Transit Connect Electric still boasts 135 cu-ft of cargo volume with 59.1-in of load height and 47.8-in of width between the wheel arches.

Of course, Ford's biggest callout is the lower operational costs of the electric-powered Transit Connect. There are far less moving parts than the base Transit Connect's 2.0-liter gasoline engine, in addition to sealed liquid cooling systems (no flushing required), no oil changes, no belts, and Ford says the regenerative braking reduces the wear on brake pads.

Compressed natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas are expected to offer similar benefits. They arrive in 2011 as options to the Transit Connect lineup, each adding a compressed tank in the rear cargo area. Ford's draw to these fuels involves the cleaner combustion they provide over gasoline. Ford cites EPA CNG greenhouse emissions figures that are some 30% to 40% lower than gasoline, while available government tax credits give fleet owners an incentive to adopt. And the domestic infrastructure is another consideration: Ford claims 87% of natural gas used in the U.S. is rendered here.