Ford is putting prototype versions of its fully electric E-Transit van through rigorous durability testing ahead of the customer trials that are due to begin later this year in the supermarket, utility and last mile delivery sectors. Ford says the E-Transit will be available to lease early next year.
The trials have been devised to simulate a lifetime of intensive use. Four testing programmes have been carried out so far, designed to simulate 10 years’ worth of operational conditions in 12 weeks, covering over 150,000 miles.
The rigorous testing regime has included winter driving conditions in the US, while Ford’s environmental chamber in Cologne, Germany, provided simulated extreme heat, cold and altitude conditions. This test included subjecting the van to two weeks at over 40 degrees Celsius, using 28 spotlights equipped with 4kW bulbs, which put the battery’s liquid cooling system through its paces. The test chamber also provided -35 degree Celsius winter conditions, making a simulated climb with a full load to 2,500m.
Not content with Britain’s deteriorating road network, Ford set the E-Transit to work on the giant potholes and rough road surfaces at the Ford proving ground at Lommel in Belgium. Separately, testing is also taking place at the company’s Dunton Technical Centre in Essex.
Durability testing of the battery pack, electric motor and rear suspension has involved repeated passes through mud and salt baths as well as salt water sprays to simulate harsh winter driving and to test the corrosion resistance of the components. The electric motor was run continuously for 125 days.
“We test all our vans in conditions above and beyond anything they are likely to face in the hands of customers,” said Andrew Mottram, Chief Programme Engineer E-Transit, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe. “The all-electric E-Transit is no different.”
The E-Transit will make its UK public debut at the CV Show at the NEC on 31 August.
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