From the cockpit everything looks pretty conventional except the giant range meter that fills the left side of the instrument cluster. Key on, drop the shifter into D (an L or B setting with more aggressive off-throttle regen will be featured in the production models, but my prototype had a stock carryover shifter).
Like all EVs, the Transit Connect jumps smartly off the line smartly, its peak torque at zero rpm masking the added mass pretty effectively. Having that big battery pack mounted low in the center of the vehicle, helps the TC feel nimbler than its mass suggests and of course its tidy 39-foot turning circle remains unaltered. There's a distant whir from the motor that sounds about like what you hear f every electric vehicle from a radio-controlled car to a Segway to a Leaf. This one's electric steering motor added its own amusing sound track, but that's an isolation and integration issue that's already been addressed as--I was assured--will be the strange shuddering that occurred a few times when braking to a complete stop using enough pedal effort to fully engage the hydraulic brakes. Applying gentle but ever deeper pressure on the brake pedal from city traffic speeds I was unable to detect any transition from regenerative to hydraulic braking.
Azure Dynamics plans to build 30 vehicles yet this year, 20 of which have been purchased by Johnson Controls. Next year production is expected to ramp up to 400 with double that number selling in the second year if all goes to plan. The size and shape of the TCE certainly looks similar to that of the US Postal Service's neighborhood delivery trucks, and indeed AZD's Engineering VP Jim Mancuso says that their typical urban/suburban shift mileage is closer to 30 miles--easily doable within the TCE's useful range. But can we tax-payers and postal patrons afford to go green? With an anticipated price premium of $0000 over the standard Transit's $21,895 base price, the answer is probably "no," but since when did that stop us?
| 2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric |
| Base price || $00,000 |
| Vehicle layout || Front-engine, FWD, 2-pass, 4-door, van |
| Motor || 000-hp/173-lb-ft AC electric motor |
| Transmission || 1-speed |
| Curb weight || 3950 lb (mfr) |
| Wheelbase || 114.6 in |
| Length x width x height || 180.6 x 70.7 x 79.3 in |
| 0-60 mph || 12.0 sec (mfr est) |
| EPA city/hwy fuel econ || NA mpg (gasoline equivalent) |
| CO2 emissions || 0 lb/mile (at vehicle) |
| On sale in U.S. || Currently |