Ford continues its expansion for the Ranger ute and adds a new dimension to Transit
As the acceptance of the all-new Ranger appears to exceed even Ford’s expectations, there’s every reason for the carmaker to be excited in advance of the release of new models that expand the Ranger product line-up.
With its introduction into Australia delayed from the early part of 2012 until probably the start of the second quarter, because of the Thailand floods, buyers can expect to see Space Cab and Single Cab variants powered by a choice of diesel engines of 2.2 litres and 3.2 litres, plus a 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder. Also on offer will be a 4×2 Hi-Rider, and the luxuriously equipped, sports-oriented, Wildtrak.
Ford’s light commercial van range has also not been neglected, and Transit buyers will now have the added option of the one-tonne, Ford Transit 280S with a new engine under the bonnet.
Ford is introducing a new 2.2 four-cylinder TDCi engine across the model range. Not only will customers gain through significantly reduced fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions, but also increases in maximum power and torque.
This new 2.2 TDCi turbo-diesel engine will be fitted to the 2012 Transit range in two states of tune: 92 kW/330 Nm (front-wheel drive) and 114 kW/385 Nm (rear-wheel drive, where it will replace the current 2.4-litre power unit).
The improvements also apply to the tailpipe emissions levels, as well as economy and, in the case of the Transit 280S, the combined-cycle fuel consumption improves by 11 percent, to 7.2 l/100 km, with CO2 a class-leading 189 g/km.
Thanks to a heritage that dates back 47 years, the Transit remains one of the best known names in the medium van segment. Australia doesn’t get access to the complete range sold in the UK, but, in its homeland, Pommie buyers get to make their choice from three wheelbases, four frame lengths, rear, front or all-wheel-drive, high traction dual and single rear wheels, and single or double cab styles.
Transit is still wining awards, and in the past six years has won no less than 15 awards from UK specialist magazine, What Van.
The ECOnetic version is available in Australia, and, in its homeland, it comes with auto start/stop (which automatically shuts down the engine at idle), a 110 km/h speed limiter, and CO2 emissions levels as low as 173 g/km. This latest version of the ECOnetic shows an economy improvement of up to 8.5 percent and it sits in the light commercial line-up ahead of the Fiesta van ECOnetic that returns an enviable 95 g/km of CO2 emissions.
According to Brad Bownell, Ford Australia’s vice president of marketing, sales and service, there is an ongoing review taking place with regard to the import of the Transit Connect.
No decision has yet been taken to compete in the smaller van segment, but if Ford does decided to adopt the Transit Connect, it opens the door for further technology upgrades such as the option to offer the Transit Connect Electric van.
A local community in England has found that operating a Transit Connect Electric can cost less than £50 annually.
Residents of the eco-friendly community lived with the Transit Connect Electric, carrying out day-to-day jobs such as, taking children to school, delivering waste to be recycled, and transporting their homegrown crops.
Unity Gardens was created by award-winning eco-architect, Dr. Jerry Harrall, who said: “The electric vehicle is an obvious natural progression for Unity Gardens. The residents are generating more energy than they are using, so it makes sense for them to take advantage of the excess to power an electric vehicle.”
According to Dr Harrall, figures show that an average two-bedroom home will consume around 28,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy per annum, while a Unity Gardens house will go through just 6,000 kWh of energy in a year.
Since each home generates 7,500 kWh per annum, thanks to the sustainable technology of solar panels on each property, the scheme puts more energy into the National Grid than it is taking out. The surplus of 1,500 kWh going back into the National Grid is enough to charge the Transit Connect Electric more than 50 times in one year, providing enough power to drive nearly 5,000 miles at an annual cost of about £46.50.
The Unity Gardens sustainable community grow their own vegetables, manage hives of 150,000 bees, take care of more than 20 chickens, and harvest rainfall for essentials such as toilet flushing as well as the watering of plants.
Dr Harrall explains that the Transit Connect Electric can be charged with the excess energy created by Unity Gardens
Local resident charging-up the Transit Connect Electric
Local residents generate more energy than they are using, so they can power an electric vehicle.