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First drive: 2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric

Posted by Keith Griffin  April 2, 2010 11:37 AM

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(Sam VarnHagen/Ford)

NEW YORK—Do you like full torque acceleration the moment you tap on the accelerator? Does paying pennies to fill up your tank appeal to your beleaguered wallet? Are you a plumber? Then does Ford have a vehicle for you.

The Ford Transit Connect Electric goes on sale this summer. Produced in partnership with Azure Dynamics of Michigan, this commercial van has a 1000-pound payload, an 80-mile cruising range, and a top speed up to 80 mph. It can also climb a 20 percent grade, which should make mincemeat out of most of what New England can throw its way.

As part of media days at The New York International Auto Show, test drives were done on Manhattan’s west side. Fifteen minutes behind the wheel quickly demonstrates that electric vehicles should be a viable alternative for future transportation needs, especially in the commercial trades.

“This is not a golf cart. Even my parents think it is, but it’s not,” said Lisa Drake, Ford’s chief engineer for the Transit Connect Electric.

Charging time is six to eight hours on with a 240-volt supply (like the power source for your washing machine). A standard outlet could charge the Connect in 16 hours. Drake said that air conditioning could reduce its effective range to 60 miles.

Currently, the Transit Connect Electric is only available for fleet purchase through Azure Dynamics, which will outfit the vehicles in Michigan. Local Ford dealers will handle maintenance.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
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AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
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Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
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