GM commercial vans are well on there way to being 20 years old since their last refresh in 2003, and Ford Transit series remains the top-selling commercial vans in the U.S. Ford will once again freshen the lineup this week and add electrification to further distance its lead over GM.
Ford Authority reported Wednesday a production version of the Ford Transit Connect PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) will bow at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Germany this week. The Transit Connect PHEV will bring electrification to the commercial fleet for the first time in production form.
Unlike GM commercial vans, the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana, Ford ported the European design to the United States when it discontinued the E-Series commercial vans years ago. The Transit lineup’s PHEV variant will offer 31 miles of electric range and a 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine sits onboard as a range extender. In total, the powertrain returns more than 310 miles of range.
Aside from the Transit PHEV, the regular Transit line will also see updates. A segment-first 48-volt mild-hybrid system will be included for vans equipped with a manual transmission and will launch in mid-2019. In general, the entire Transit line will receive a new front-end design, reworked interior and greater stowing capacity.
To underscore just how old the GM commercial vans are in comparison, the current Express and Savana were introduced in 1995. The vans underwent a refresh in 2003 with minimal updates since then. Most recently, GM replaced the 6.6-liter Duramax LGH engine with the much newer 2.8L Duramax LWN diesel engine. Sourced have also told GM Authority the current vans could live on until 2023, or perhaps 2025 if deemed necessary.
Despite their old bones, the Express and Savana still manage to sell. Last year, GM sold nearly 100,000 commercial vans. In comparison, Ford sold nearly 130,000 Transit vans in 2017.