Ford has started production of its electric E-Transit cargo vans at its factory in Kansas City, Missouri with the first deliveries expected in the next several weeks, Ford Pro North America general manager Tim Baughman told TechCrunch.
Baughman’s comments follow Ford’s announcement earlier this month that it will nearly double production capacity of its upcoming electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck to 150,000 vehicles a year by mid-2023 in response to customer demand. Deliveries of the F-150 Lightning, and the commercial Lightning Pro, are expected to begin this spring.
The E-Transit, a configurable all-electric cargo van first revealed in 2020, is key to Ford’s strategy to gain market share in the cargo van market. Its popular combustion engine Transit vans, which are also produced at the Kansas City factory, have a 40% market share in its category; Ford believes there’s more opportunity with electric vehicles as customers seek out vehicles with lower maintenance and energy costs that also meet sustainability and stricter emissions regulations. Ford has previously estimated the entire BEV commercial van market will be 1.1 million commercial van sales through 2030.
But the E-Transit is just part of Ford’s bet that it can convince existing and new commercial customers to switch to electric vehicles. E-Transit, the Ford F-150 Lightning Pro and charging, services, maintenance and fleet management telematics software all fit under a new business called Ford Pro.
In September, Ford hired six senior-level executives to the newly minted commercial vehicles and services business unit led by Ted Cannis, including Muffi Ghadiali, the CEO of Electriphi, the battery management and fleet monitoring software startup that Ford acquired in June. Ford also hired Baughman, Ford’s former controller for U.S. marketing, sales and service, to be the general manager of Ford Pro North America. Ford Pro’s new CFO will be Navin Kumar, who was previously at Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC.