Ford's Swiss Army knife gets the electric treatment

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If the large Ford E-Transit is the electric van for the environmentally conscious Amazon delivery drivers of this world, then the Ford E-Transit Custom is the small-business equivalent.

The Ford Transit Custom is the medium-sized van in the Blue Oval’s range, and this new all-electric version is more than just a box-ticking, zero-emission offering. Before long, this will very likely not only be Ford’s best-selling electric van but in the years to come its best-selling model, replacing the diesel-engined Transit Custom that has become a favourite working tool for everyone from plumbers and builders to huge multinational blue-chips.

The importance of the E-Transit Custom cannot be overemphasised. Getting this right is make-or-break stuff for Ford – a question of not only maintaining market dominance but blowing competitors out the water with a new era of engaging, versatile and connected electric vans.



02 Ford eTransit Custom L1H1 review 2024 front driving

It starts with a brand-new platform. It's the one used in the diesel van, but was designed for electric and plug-in hybrid drivelines from the start.

The E-Transit replicates the standard version's dizzying array of body types and combinations and comes with standard panel van, double-cab and Tourneo passenger versions, and even a Multicab with an L-shaped bulkhead to provide seating for up to five.

There are also trim levels for (nearly) all budgets, skipping the entry-level Base and starting the range with the safety system-packed Trend, which includes lane keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control and a reversing camera. Highlights of Limited trim include electric heated seats and LED lights, while Sport vans will largely be recognised for their standout bonnet stripes.

But it’s the outrageously ostentatious MS-RT version that will turn the most heads with its divisive colour options and aero styling package.

For the regular vans, the revamped image of the macho diesel van is softened with a more futuristic grille design.


08 Ford eTransit Custom L1H1 review 2024 dashboard

On the inside there’s a bright, crisp 13in screen for controlling the majority of the settings, but sensibly there’s also a row of physical buttons for the most commonly used functions, giving quicker access to heating controls on the touchscreen. More physical buttons would be preferable, but it’s a compromise that works relatively well and keeps the cabin uncluttered.

The instrument cluster also gets an 8in digital screen to relay the all-important electric driveline data, while thanks to a built-in 5G modem, fleet managers can also access everything from vehicle charging status to security alerts with the help of Ford’s ever-evolving Ford Pro connected services.


07 Ford eTransit Custom L1H1 review 2024 EV stuff

Unusually for a medium-sized Ford van, power goes to the rear wheels. To increase ground clearance without raising the loading sill height, the motor, available in power ratings of 134bhp, 214bhp or 281bhp, and its high-voltage components have been reconfigured. Where control units would normally sit stacked on the motor, they’re now positioned behind it, making the assembly more compact and suitable for this size of van.

The lowest-powered model feels more than potent enough, while the option of 214bhp on Limited or Sport is a significant step up. Taking things to the next level is the 281bhp MS-RT, a ludicrously overpowered but enjoyable hell-raiser capable of turning out an unofficial 0-62mph time of just 7sec. All models have the same 308lb ft of torque.

One-pedal driving mode is an option within a submenu of the van’s three driving modes: Normal, Sport and Eco.


16 Ford eTransit Custom L1H1 review 2024 front cornerish

The Transit Custom’s best attribute has always been how it drives, and the E-Transit Custom has improved the recipe. The additional battery weight keeps the van planted and inspires more confidence with every aspect of its performance and feel. Its handling is without doubt the best in the van world, bettering its diesel sibling which is already the benchmark.

It feels balanced no matter how aggressive you are at the wheel or with the throttle. Ride comfort is impressive too, although not noticeably different to the diesel.

More work could be done to improve noise levels, but that’s really the only criticism as wind wraps its way around the A-pillar and mirrors. That's apparent in the diesel version as well, but more so with no engine noise at all. According to a Ford engineer, it's also due in part to slightly thinner glass – a weight-saving feature introduced across the new range.


01 Ford eTransit Custom L1H1 review 2024 lead track

The E-Transit being a working tool doesn’t diminish range anxiety – after all, you can’t really plug in on a customer’s drive while on a job. However, a 64kWh battery delivers a WLTP range of 202 miles, while charging speeds of up to 125kW mean the battery can be topped up from 15-80% in just 41 minutes – or eight and a half hours using a 7kW wallbox.

Switching the E-Transit Custom to rear-wheel drive means there has been no compromise in terms of either the load volume or the ground clearance – something to consider when a dual-motor all-wheel-drive model goes on sale. As a result it’s still just as practical as the diesel.

A chunky kerb weight of 2255kg for the standard van leaves a payload of 970kg, close to the 1000kg capacity of its most obvious rival, the Vauxhall Vivaro Electric.

Short- and long-wheelbase models, with the promise of other body variants to come, mean there’s a Transit Custom for everyone. Even those who need to tow haven’t been neglected, thanks to a 2300kg towing capacity.

Starting prices of £43,380 excluding VAT make the E-Transit Custom a pricey option when the diesel van starts at £32,350. In comparison to rivals, though, it’s no more expensive than the £43,105 entry-level Vivaro Electric. Your average Joe will baulk at the MS-RT version's £60,490 price tag, but for drivers looking to make a statement it will surely appeal.


18 Ford eTransit Custom L1H1 review 2024 front static

The E-Transit Custom is just as well thought out, capable and enjoyable as the diesel. Given time, it has every chance of eventually being as successful as its best-selling sibling.