DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it will offer a battery-electric version of the Transit cargo van in Canada and the U.S. for the 2022 model year as it looks to strengthen its leadership in commercial vehicles.
The automaker said the EV will be available in cargo van, cutaway and chassis cab configurations, plus three roof heights and three body lengths. It declined to discuss range, pricing or other production-related specifics.
Ford agreed to build a Transit EV at its Kansas City assembly plant in the U.S. as part of its four-year contract with the UAW ratified late last year. It's also planning a Transit EV for Europe.
The van will join an F-150 EV and the Mustang Mach-E in Ford's growing electric-vehicle portfolio, as the automaker invests more than $11.5 billion in the technology through 2022.
"Commercial vehicles are a critical component to our big bet on electrification," Ford COO Jim Farley said in a statement. "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.
"This Ford Transit isn't just about creating an electric drivetrain, it's about designing and developing a digital product that propels fleets forward."
Ford unveiled the van as part of the annual Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. The news comes a day before crosstown rival General Motors was set to offer media and investors a glimpse of its own EV plans.
The introduction of a battery-electric Transit is in line with what Farley told investors last week, when he vowed to lean into Ford's strength in commercial vehicles and step up its electrification efforts, among other areas.
Transit is the best-selling cargo van in the world, and Ford has been the best-selling commercial-vehicle brand in the U.S. for 41 years, the company says. Its U.S. truck and van fleet sales have risen 33 per cent since 2015.
Ford sold 153,868 Transits in the U.S. last year, up 11.7 per cent.
The automaker said the Transit EV will feature a connected modem and tools such as live GPS tracking and vehicle diagnostics so fleet managers can better monitor their vans.
"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.
"So Ford is thinking deeply on connectivity relationships that integrate with our in-vehicle high-speed electrical architectures and cloud-based data services to provide these businesses smart vehicles beyond just the electric powertrains."