Ford just announced it will offer a new (for North America) diesel engine in the coming 2013 Transit. This news comes on the heels of Ford's earlier announcement that the full-size van will get the popular 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine.
Exact power outputs for the EcoBoost in the Transit have not been released, but Ford says the new van will offer at least 25 percent better fuel economy (in all configurations) than the E-Series van it replaces, weighing as much as 300 pounds less as well.
The turbo-diesel engine Ford is talking about is most likely the DuraTorq common-rail direct-injection 3.2-liter inline-five offered in the new global Ford Ranger. Although no specific details were released, that engine would make the most sense, and it would be a great way to get a proven small-diesel into the U.S. market. In the Ranger, power ratings are about 200 horsepower and 350 pounds-feet of torque, certainly more than adequate for a work-duty cargo or passenger van of this size.
“With fleet operators facing skyrocketing fuel prices and constant pressure to reduce costs, Ford continues to expand its range,” said Kevin Koswick, Ford's director of North American fleet, lease and remarketing operations. “By offering multiple options to help solve these challenges, Ford is giving fleet customers true power of choice in finding solutions that best meet their specific needs.”
Speaking to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit today, Koswick said Ford is committed providing customers a range of options to reduce their operating costs through a lineup of industry-leading fuel-efficient engines and alternative-fuel technologies. Just some of Ford's offerings include EcoBoost engines, hybrid technology, plug-in hybrids, battery-electric vehicles and biodiesel and CNG/LPG fuels.
Koswick also announced the availability of a new software program for fleet managers that allows them to consider many different environmental and cost-of-ownership issues when making their fleet vehicle choices. Called the Vehicle Emissions and Fuel Cost Calculator, the system generates info about a fleet's efficiency using vehicle data, fuel type and traffic conditions (stop-and-go city traffic or on the highway, for instance), along with the geographic region in which the car will be used. The idea is that different businesses will need different solutions to provide the most efficient, responsible and cost-effective way to make their fleets work harder.
The new Transit, which is expected to be a 2013 model, will be built at the Kansas City Assembly Plant alongside a limited run of various models (mostly chassis cabs) of the outgoing E-Series vans. Ford says the E-Series will be built through the end of the decade.
We'll have more on the Transit as it gets closer to its on-sale date later this year.