Now here’s a vehicle that we never quite expected to go the EV route so soon. The Ford Transit – the best-selling cargo van in the world – will have an all-electric version coming for the 2022 model year, the Blue Oval has announced.

“Commercial vehicles are a critical component to our big bet on electrification. As leaders in this space, we are accelerating our plans to create solutions that help businesses run better, starting with our all-electric Transit and F-150. This Ford Transit isn’t just about creating an electric drivetrain, it’s about designing and developing a digital product that propels fleets forward,” said Ford COO Jim Farley.

The Transit EV will be made in the US and is part of Ford’s over US$11.5 billion investment in electrification through 2022. Also going the EV route are the European market Transit, the Mustang badge with the Mach-E coming later this year, and the previously announced electric F-150 truck.

No pics yet (current model shown), but Ford says the electric Transit will have smart technology to optimise fleet efficiency, reduce waste and improve driver behaviour by providing insights into operator performance. Fleets can leverage data collected through Ford Telematics using an embedded FordPass Connect modem featuring a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot for up to 10 devices. Managers can use Ford Data Services tools like live map GPS tracking, geofencing and vehicle diagnostics to check KPIs for both vehicle and driver.

Driver-assist tech will include standard Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking plus Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning, Post-Collision Braking, Lane-Keeping System and auto high-beam headlamps.

The electric Transit will offer “uncompromised cargo capacity” and a variety of power/chassis options, including cargo van, cutaway and chassis cab, plus three roof heights and three body lengths. Customers will have the full backing of the company’s EV-certified dealer network and access to Ford’s charging network, claimed to be North America’s largest.

Ford adds that fleet operators can expect lower costs from less scheduled maintenance than internal combustion engines and lower operating costs. EV fleets may benefit from federal, state and local electric vehicle tax incentives, access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes and free parking, too. EVs can also operate where vans with ICE cannot, such as indoors and at night in areas with restrictive noise ordinances.

“The world is heading toward electrified products and fleet customers are asking for them now. We know their vehicles operate as a connected mobile business and their technology needs are different than retail customers. So Ford is thinking deeply on connectivity relationships that integrate with our in-vehicle high-speed electrical architectures and cloud-based data services to provide these businesses smart vehicles beyond just the electric powertrains,” Farley added.

More details about the electric Ford Transit and its features will be revealed later.