The good news is that the E-Transit is no poorer in terms of working practicality than it’s forebears. You can have the new E-Transit in three lengths and two heights, including a bare chassis for sticking specialist equipment onto, a double-cab set up for extra people, and various other configurations.
There are bits of blue on the grille that mark it out as electric, but you’re not going to be overwhelmed by space-age Transitness - just a charge port on the nose. If it ain’t broke and all that.
In the most regular panel van, you can have sliding doors both sides, and rear doors that open properly wide to reveal between 9.5 and just over 15 metres cubed of loadspace, and it’s all very well-equipped with tie-downs and helpful hooks and lips.
The battery - like an electric car - is mounted out of the way under the floor, and the heavy duty rear suspension has been redesigned to cope with proper loads and still make the e-Transit handle properly whether loaded or unloaded. Again, it depends on the version, but it’ll take up to 1,758kg of … things.
There’s also the option of a thing called ‘Pro Power Onboard’ which is usually known as a vehicle-to-load system. Basically a set of plugs in the back that can provide up to 2.3kW of power for anything from a laptop to a drill. Handy if you’re on site all day.
But when all’s said and done, it needs to work for the driver/user as well as the load, and that’s where the E-Transit really scores. The E-Transit isn’t like the old, smelly diesel Transits we know and love; it’s more like a decent car these days. There’s a 12-inch touchscreen from the Mustang Mach-E that gets Ford’s Sync 4 system, so there’s over-the-air updates for the sat-nav, voice control, wireless smartphone integration, as well as a load of driver aids like lane-keep assist and cruise control.
Then there are standard heated seats and a Quickclear heated windscreen, parking sensors and keyless start. And yep - even Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. With storage absolutely everywhere, comfortable - if practical - seating and a simple rotary gearselector in the centre console which frees up space in the footwell, it’s a lovely thing. And the simplicity of the spinny gear selector is handy if you’re doing lots of manoeuvring.
But more than that, this doesn’t feel like a Transit van. It doesn’t rattle, smell of diesel and somebody else’s lunch, for a start. It’s smooth, it’s quiet - for a van - and it’s dead easy to drive. Just pick the gear and go. There are two versions; one with 181bhp and 317lb ft of torque, and another one with 265bhp and the same torque figure. But the 181bhp version is plenty- it keeps up with traffic with fuss-free acceleration and un-vanlike smoothness. Not sporty, but it makes the E-Transit weirdly serene - which can’t hurt.
Generally though, the E-Transit is a revelation. It’s cheaper than rivals, has more range and is super to drive. With the big ‘Ford Pro’ support package from the manufacturer on offer as well, it’s probably a more significant car for Ford than something like the Mach E. And that’s saying something.