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Ford electric delivery vans rolling off the assembly line in Claycomo

ford e-transit van.jpg
Ford Motor Co.
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Ford spent about $100 million gearing up to build the E-Transit van at its Claycomo plant in the Northland and hired 150 additional employees.

Ford claims to have more than 10,000 orders for the E-Transit vans, which start at $43,000.

Auto makers are racing to develop the next generation of electric cars and trucks, and electric delivery vans are one of fastest growing segments.

Ford Motor Co. is building its E-Transit vans exclusively in the Kansas City area. They’re rolling off the assembly line now and will start reaching customers this week.

Ford claims to have more than 10,000 orders for the E-Transit vans, which start at $43,000. E-Transit brand manager Drew Walker says he expects demand to surge.

“We’re really at this inflection point where everybody's talking about it and interested,” Walker said. “They're trying to understand, especially in the commercial space, is it right for — how could I deploy electric vehicles in my business?”

Electric vans cost less to operate and require less maintenance that gas- and diesel-powered vehicles.

Ford faces stiff competition. General Motors’ new BrightDrop division has thousands of electric vans on back order. The startup Rivian is set to build 100,000 electric vans for Amazon. And Mercedes-Benz has an electronic van due out next year.

Walker says Ford has a leg up because the E-Transit uses many of the same parts as the company’s internal-combustion Transit van, which has long outsold all other commercial vans in the United States.

“We're really leveraging our scale, our ability to get to market quickly, as well as support the vehicle, once it's in market,” Walker said.

Walker says Ford spent about $100 million gearing up to build the E-Transit van at its Claycomo plant in the Northland and hired 150 additional employees. He says all domestic production of the van will take place here, on the same line where the gas- and diesel-burning versions of the vans are assembled.

I’ve been at KCUR almost 30 years, working partly for NPR and splitting my time between local and national reporting. I work to bring extra attention to people in the Midwest, my home state of Kansas and of course Kansas City. What I love about this job is having a license to talk to interesting people and then crafting radio stories around their voices. It’s a big responsibility to uphold the truth of those stories while condensing them for lots of other people listening to the radio, and I take it seriously. Email me at frank@kcur.org or find me on Twitter @FrankNewsman.
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