DETROIT — The number of electric nameplates Ford Motor Co. currently sells just doubled.
The automaker late Monday began shipping E-Transit electric vans to customers as the vehicle joins the Mustang Mach-E among Ford's EV offerings. Ford last month said it has already booked 10,000 E-Transit orders from about 300 commercial customers, including Walmart.
"E-Transit is a testament to the fact that an electric commercial fleet is no longer a vision of tomorrow, but a productivity-boosting modern reality," Kumar Galhotra, Ford's president of the Americas & International Markets Group, said in a statement.
Ford builds the E-Transit alongside the gasoline-powered Transit van at its Kansas City Assembly Plant, which is on a reduced schedule this week because of the ongoing chip shortage. Ford in 2020 invested $100 million and added 150 jobs there for the electric van.
"Today's production shipping announcement of the 2022 Ford Pro E-Transit vans to customers marks the beginning of a new era emerging from the Kansas City Assembly Plant," Chuck Browning, a UAW vice president and director of the union's Ford department, said in a statement. "By producing both gas and the electric versions of America's bestselling commercial van, members in Claycomo are working to meet current demand while transitioning to a strong EV future."
The E-Transit starts at $44,900 including shipping and comes in eight configurations. Of the 10,000 orders, executives have said 44 percent are for the high-roof version, 32 percent are for the medium-roof version and 19 percent are for the low-roof.
The low-roof cargo van variant will get up to 126 miles of range on a full charge, based on EPA methodology. Ford says internal research indicates commercial customers drive 74 miles a day.
Ford has put commercial buyers at the forefront of its EV strategy, dedicating a separate business unit, Ford Pro, to developing charging solutions, telematics offerings and vehicle financing specifically for fleet owners. Ford began delivering some preproduction E-Transits to certain businesses in November as part of a pilot to see how they would use the vans.
The automaker aims to double its EV production capacity to 600,000 vehicles globally within two years.