Dozens of Ford Transits have been working hard behind the scenes of this week’s 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed, ferrying equipment back and forth to get ready for one of the year’s biggest auto events. But the incredible Ford Pro Electric SuperVan is one Transit that’s taking center stage, not merely helping build it.
And it really is only one Transit: a single concept van, but one with the power of about 19 production Transits thanks to a quad-motor EV drivetrain that shares an outrageous 1,973 hp (2,000 PS) between its four wheels, and can rocket to 62 mph (100 km/h) in less than 2 seconds.
This is the fourth in Ford’s series of bonkers SuperVan concepts that dates back to 1971 when someone had the insane idea of dropping a Le Mans-winning GT40 V8 into the middle of a Mk1 Transit. Ford repeated the trick in the 1980s and 1990s with SuperVans 2 and 3, but now the Blue Oval has brought the blue-collar hypercar back as an EV to fit with the times.
Ford hopes the Pro Electric SuperVan, which was developed with STARD Motorsport and makes its world debut at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed with Le Mans winner Romain Dumas at the wheel, will help generate some interest in its 2023 production E-Transit custom van and Ford SYNC connectivity.
Projects like these are often built around a bespoke spaceframe chassis and merely skinned to resemble a real car. That’s also partially true of this SuperVan, which does feature lightweight carbon panels over a nest of steel tubes. But Ford says the floorpan actually comes from the E-Transit Custom production van.
The overall shape is vaguely similar too, from the front and when viewed in profile. The front splitter, aggressive side skirts, slim racing-style mirrors and fixed windows leave you in no doubt that this is more than your usual pimped-up construction site Transit, but they’re nothing compared to what’s going on at the back where the SuperVan goes from load lugger to Le Mans car.
The roof mounted spoiler and huge diffuser fight it out to see who can generate the most downforce and the most stares, but both our totally outplayed by striking rear bodywork that tapers to a vee above the waistline, allowing air to flow inside each rear pillar instantly drawing a visual link to Ford’s GT supercar.
You won’t find a rolled up tabloid newspaper or McDonald’s coffee cup on the inside of this Transit, or carpets for that matter. Instead, you get a full roll cage, a large digital instrument display ahead of a small Alcantara-covered steering wheel, and a tablet touchscreen just like the one you get in a Mustang Mach-E, and potentially the 2023 E-Transit Custom. So far Ford has only released exterior images of that van, but more details are promised for September.
The touchscreen and Ford’s SYNC connective hardware will enable owners of that 2023 E-Transit to find and navigate to charging stations when they have exhausted the 236 mile (380 km) electric range Ford is targeting for the production van. But while SuperVan’s system will also let Romain Dumas do that, and even make calls on his way up the hill past Goodwood House, the system has been reconfigured to let him pick between Road, Track, Drag, Drift and Rally driving modes and three levels of regenerative braking. It can also send real-time performance data back to Ford’s engineers, a nod to the remote vehicle management software Ford developed to help business keep tabs on their fleet (and their lazy drivers).
Perhaps the zaniest bit of tech is one we’re hoping Dumas might showcase while waiting at the starting line at Goodwood before his run. Called Tire Cleaning Mode, it’s essentially a drag racer’s line lock, but one with a twist in that it allows the driver to perform a burnout on either the front or rear axle, to get them nice and hot before a real launch.
Is the Electric SuperVan a fitting fourth installment in the SuperVan saga? Leave a comment and let us know.