Ford Motor will release an all-electric version of its popular Transit cargo van as early as next year under a previously announced plan to spend $11.5 billion on vehicle electrification through 2022.
Ford is moving to retain its leadership in the commercial van space as new competitors such as Rivian, a Michigan-based EV start-up, prepare to enter the segment. Rivian, which Ford has invested in and partnered with for a luxury vehicle, last year landed an order from Amazon, another investor in Rivian, for 100,000 all-electric vans.
The all-electric Transit van, according to Ford, will be produced in the U.S. The company declined to provide additional details regarding production. However, the United Auto Workers union last year said the all-electric van would be produced at a Ford plant in Missouri.
Ford also declined to specify timing for the all-electric van. Automakers typically produce vehicles a year before their model year or slightly into their calendar year.
Commercial vehicles such as the Transit are important to the automaker's bottom line. Ford has been America's best-selling commercial van brand for 41 years.
"Commercial vehicles are a critical component to our big bet on electrification," Jim Farley, recently appointed chief operating officer of Ford, said in a release. "As leaders in this space, we are accelerating our plans to create solutions that help businesses run better, starting with our all-electric Transit and F-150."
"The world is heading toward electrified products and fleet customers are asking for them now," Farley said. "We know their vehicles operate as a connected mobile business and their technology needs are different than retail customers."