Last month we gave Ford a failing grade for the Transit Connect Taxi, a vehicle that Ford hoped would be used as a cab, but that got a miserable 19 miles per gallon in city driving. But now Smith Electric Vehicles has announced that it will use the Transit Connect chassis to make its Ampere electric van, a vehicle that will be jointly branded Smith and Ford. That makes sense!
Battery Range, Top Speed, Motor Specifications
The Ampere has a battery range "in excess of 100 miles" per charge (160 kilometers) and a top speed of up to 70 mph (115 kph). The electric motor can deliver 50 kW of power and the battery pack is based on an iron-phosphate lithium-ion chemistry (which sounds a bit similar to BYD's plug-in hybrids) made by Valence Technologies. And they're not taking half-measures either: The drivetrain and battery were developed specifically for the Ampere electric van.Planned Uses for this Electric Van
"Ampere is aimed at urban operators using large fleets of light vans in sectors such as postal and courier, utilities and telecommunications. It has a gross vehicle weight of 2,340 kg, with payload capacity of up to 800 kg."
Hopefully Ford and Smith will soon make another version and offer it to the general public. We suppose that it makes sense to start with commercial fleets because they have much higher fuel costs and deeper pockets to try new technologies, but if Ford is to stay in the electric car race, it can't count on fleets only.
See also: ::Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car to Go Global, ::Subaru Tests R1e Electric Car in New York City, Previews G4e, ::Photos of Mitsubishi i MiEV Electric Car from New York Auto Show, ::XS500 by Miles: $30,000 $60,000 Electric Car in 2009 [Updated], ::Here's What Happens to a Tesla Electric Car Battery at the End of its Life