Ford's Transit Connect Electric van takes on cars

Ford will debut its new Transit Connect Electric van on the first RAC Future Car Challenge, a dynamic showcase for electric, hybrid and low-emission vehicles.

Three Ford vehicles will participate in the event, which rewards competitors that use the least energy on a 60 mile route from Brighton to London.

Joining the Ford Transit Connect Electric, are the Econetic versions of the Ford Fiesta van and Ford Focus, both of which have emissions less than 100g/km of CO2 and can exceed 70mpg.

The event takes place ahead of the famous RAC Veteran Car Run and uses the identical route, but in reverse, with the Future Car Challenge ending among the veteran cars on display in London's Regent Street.

The Ford Transit Connect Electric is a zero-emission, purely electric-powered version of the award-winning Transit Connect light commercial vehicle and goes on sale in Europe in 2011.

It features a state-of-the-art lithium ion battery pack with a capacity of 28kWh and a chassis-mounted 55kW electric traction induction motor. With a range of up to 80 miles, it has a top speed of 75mph.

The Transit Connect Electric's lithium-ion battery pack is charged via a standard power outlet – an onboard converter then charges the battery pack. Fully charging the batteries take under 10 hours using a household 230 volt supply.

The RAC Future Car Challenge is a great opportunity in this part of the world to showcase the latest production-ready electric powertrains and internal combustion engine technology.

Ford has committed to introduce five full-electric and hybrid models in Europe by 2013 as part of its global electrification strategy. These include the Transit Connect Electric in 2011, the next generation Ford Focus Electric in 2012, followed by hybrid and plug-in hybrid derivatives of the new C-MAX, and another hybrid-electric model in 2013.

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