Ford is opening a new chapter in the long and legendary history of its spectacular Ford Transit show cars: With the Ford Pro Electric SuperVan, the first all-electric model of this unique family of ultra-high-performance commercial vehicles is celebrating its world premiere at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2022. The Electric SuperVan was developed in secret. The global Ford Performance Team, the rally and racing vehicle specialists STARD in Austria and the Ford Design Team in Cologne were all involved. The brute Ford Pro Electric SuperVan exhausts the potential of battery-electric drive technology and expanded connectivity. The demonstrator thus sets new standards for the performance of the Ford Transit van series and underlines the extensive commitment of the brand to the electrification of its commercial vehicles.
Ford Pro Electric SuperVan
Four electric motors, a liquid-cooled 50 kWh battery and a tailor-made drive management enable a maximum output of around 2.000 hp and acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in less than two seconds. The racetrack-ready chassis is based on the architecture of the E-Transit Custom, which was recently introduced statically - the first purely electrically powered version of Europe's best-selling van, located in the 1-ton payload range. The new E-Transit Custom will be launched next year.
The Ford Pro Electric SuperVan also features Ford SYNC 4, the latest generation connectivity system. With its central touchscreen and additional features for controlling the functions of the Electric SuperVan, Ford SYNC 4 is already familiar from Ford's current production models. Thanks to its enhanced connectivity, Ford SYNC 4 keeps the driver informed and enables real-time data transfers. This is of great benefit for externally controlled vehicle management and for optimizing the operational efficiency of the Electric SuperVan - comparable to the integrated services from Ford Pro, which already more than 125.000 customers across Europe increase the productivity of their company fleets. Driving mode selection and regenerative braking technologies similar to those found in Ford production electric vehicles are also featured on the Electric SuperVan.
Designed in Cologne, assembled in Austria
The all-electric demonstrator was developed in secret under the leadership of the global Ford Performance team. The Ford design team in Cologne was responsible for the design. The spectacular vehicle was assembled by the Austria-based company STARD (Stohl Advanced Research and Development), a specialist in electrified rally and racing vehicles.
"With 2.000 hp of battery-electric power, the Ford Pro Electric SuperVan offers endless driving pleasure and combines this with a distinctive design inspired by the new E-Transit Custom. In this way we are transporting the SuperVan idea into the 21st century,” says Mark Rushbrook, Director Ford Performance Motorsport. The Electric SuperVan's systems have enormous computing power, allowing the engineers to optimize its performance on the circuit in real time - just like a sophisticated racing car."
The first SuperVan generation was presented in 1971
Ford presented its first SuperVan in 1971: At that time, a mid-engine from the Le Mans-winning Ford GT40 transformed the Transit Mk 1 into a unique vehicle. The SuperVan 2 has taken this winning formula a step further – this time the engineers have fitted a second-generation Transit-design fiberglass body over the monocoque and 590hp Cosworth V8 of the Ford C100 Group C racer. The concept of the third SuperVan (1994) was very similar, in which a hoarsely screeching 1 hp Cosworth HB engine from Formula 650 provided adequate propulsion.
"For us at Ford Pro, everything revolves around increasing the productivity of our customers through modern commercial vehicles," emphasizes Hans Schep, head of Ford Pro in Europe. “Therefore, the idea of clearly presenting the potential of electric drive and connectivity with an Electric SuperVan was obvious. This incredible demonstrator vehicle takes the state-of-the-art engineering substance and signature design of the new E-Transit Custom and takes it to an even higher level. It's high-speed proof of Ford Pro's capability.”
At the wheel of the Ford Pro Electric SuperVan: Romain Dumas
The Ford Pro Electric SuperVan demonstrates its enormous performance on the legendary, around 1,9 kilometer long hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. At the wheel is the two-time Le Mans winner and proven e-motorsport specialist Romain Dumas. The French jack of all trades has unparalleled experience in dealing with fast electric vehicles - such as course records in Goodwood and at the famous Pikes Peak hill climb in Colorado/USA as well as on the notorious Nordschleife of the Nürburgring. In addition, Dumas has won the 24-hour race on the Eifel circuit four times and won a class at the Monte Carlo Rally. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 2016 long-distance world champion also holds the distance record of 5.410,713 kilometers.
With the Electric SuperVan, Ford represents the state of the art of what is technically feasible
When designing the Ford Pro Electric SuperVan, the Ford design team in Cologne was able to freely switch and rule. The designers gave the one-off an eye-catching appearance and also visually presented the enormous performance of the vehicle. The design of the E-Transit Custom has been sharpened with distinctively flared wheel arches, muscular lines and a striking paint finish. The designers also benefited from the advantages of the all-electric powertrain: For example, it requires significantly fewer ventilation and cooling openings in the body than a combustion engine.
The influence of Ford Performance and STARD from Austria remains clearly visible. It is reflected, for example, in the sculpted front splitter, the side skirts or in a rear diffuser element, which could very well be used in a racing car. Aerodynamic downforce is ensured on the one hand by the rear design with its carefully placed recesses and on the other by an air fin that elegantly extends into the rear wing.
"I see it as a unique opportunity to be able to work on Ford's iconic SuperVan history and show what such an extraordinary vehicle can look like in the 21st century," said Amko Leenarts, Design Director, Ford Europe. “The fourth generation SuperVan is the fastest and most extreme, but at the same time it inherits the typical Ford Transit heritage. Its proportions are more striking than the standard E-Transit Custom model. The front light bar looks particularly futuristic. This puts the Electric SuperVan at the pinnacle of the Transit design language.”
The structure of the spectacular Electric SuperVan is basically reminiscent of that of a racing car. It combines the floor assembly of the E-Transit Custom with a steel frame and body components made from weight-optimized composite materials. The specially designed, liquid-cooled 50 kW battery sits deep and centrally in the chassis. It has a positive effect on the weight distribution as well as on the center of gravity of the vehicle. The Electric SuperVan fully charges its battery in around 45 minutes at a standard fast-charging station.
The touchscreen in the cockpit provides information on the charging process and battery status. Below the body, the heavily modified chassis with asymmetrically long double wishbones, special spring struts, additional frames on the front and rear axles taken from motorsport and reinforced brakes correspond to the immensely increased dynamic potential.
Fastest and cleanest Ford SuperVan ever
Together, the Electric SuperVan's four electric motors deliver more than 2.000 hp and distribute it to all four wheels. This enables acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in less than two seconds. It is not only the fastest SuperVan from Ford of all time, but also the cleanest. Like any van, the Electric SuperVan has a cargo area behind the driver's cab; a cargo hatch in the passenger-side body facilitates loading and unloading of cargo, and Ford developed a safe electromagnetic release system controlled via the SYNC screen.
A suite of on-board cameras will capture the spectacular power of the Electric SuperVan during its hillclimb demo ride at Lord March Park and make it available online to a global audience. They can also transmit their images to the vehicle's multimedia display, for example to make maneuvering easier.
Fast data transfer optimizes performance and productivity
In the interior, the Ford Pro Electric SuperVan comes up with an extensive racing safety package in accordance with the strict standards of the FIA (Fédération Internationale d'Automobiles), which also includes a roll cage in addition to bucket seats. There is also a large Ford SYNC touchscreen. It comes directly from the car manufacturer's production models and enables the highly developed connectivity and information systems to be operated. So if the driver ever has enough of driving up hill climbs or in circles on circuits in the Electric SuperVan, he can use the monitor to display a new route or the way to the next charging station, or access the Internet via the WLAN network or make phone calls.
Five driving programs
There are also five driving programs to choose from via the touchscreen. They each define a different torque distribution to the four driven wheels and influence the braking energy recovery in order to be able to adapt the Electric SuperVan to different application scenarios in the best possible way:
- Road – for the rare case that the extreme show car drives normally from A to B
- Track - for balanced acceleration and braking behavior on circuits with treadless slick racing tires
- Dear – for maximum acceleration in drag racing events with special radial tires
- Drift – for spectacular demonstration drives or drifting in the snow
- Rally - for optimal performance on asphalt and gravel tests with appropriately designed competition tires
Electronic assistance systems underline the performance character of the Electric SuperVan. These include, for example, traction control, a pit lane speed limiter or three-stage controllable braking energy recuperation, which - similar to the L mode of the Ford E-Transit - feeds electricity back into the battery when decelerating. At low speeds, the ECO mode keeps the electric machines in the most efficient range, sets the recuperation to the highest level and switches off the rear-wheel drive. For optimal thrust, the e-boost switch calls up additional power at the touch of a finger and for a limited time. The “Tyre Cleaning” mode of the Electric SuperVan is also unique. This new feature allows drive power to be allocated to either only the front or rear axle for burnouts to specifically clean and warm up the tires before racing.
The Electric SuperVan: a high-speed experimental laboratory
As with modern racing cars - and the current commercial vehicles from Ford - the Electric SuperVan sends data in real time. This enables the engineers to gain precise insights into the current status of the car. The SuperVan is more than just a performance record of Ford's expertise in electric mobility and connectivity. The Electric SuperVan also serves as a high-speed test lab for the company, exploring and pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible. The experience gained flows into the development of future production and racing vehicles as well as software solutions and service offerings.
Don't worry, of course that was far from being the case when it came to auto / auto tuning. Our magazine still has tens of thousands other tuning reports in stock. Do you want to see them all? Then just click HERE and look around. Or are you particularly interested in everything to do with vehicles of the Ford brand? Then click on one of the following posts!