The new Ford Transit is the automaker’s first commercial vehicle in Europe with a bonnet made of weight-saving aluminium.
Thanks to a number of lightweight construction measures, the new 2-tonne transporter has up to 80 kg more load-carrying capability than its predecessor model. The van goes on sale in mid-2019.
Sophisticated engineering including Ford’s first aluminium bonnet for a commercial vehicle in Europe, a composite bulkhead and spin-formed wheels were optimized during the development process using advanced computer-aided design (CAD) systems typically employed in the aerospace industry.
These are among the innovations that have helped Ford engineers reduce the kerb weight of the new Transit to enable customers to carry larger loads for greater operating efficiency. The new Transit rear-wheel drive 350 GVM, long-wheelbase, medium-roof model, for example, is 80 kg lighter than the comparable out-going model. The equivalent front-wheel drive van is 48 kg lighter.
The new Transit’s lightweight aluminium bonnet saves 5.4 kg compared with a steel equivalent, without sacrificing strength. The new bonnet was comprehensively tested for dent resistance and performs as well as a steel bonnet in temperatures between -30 °C and +80 °C.
Major savings of 14.7 kg were achieved by redesigning the rear axle for the rear-wheel drive model, and a new high-strength, lightweight composite bulkhead saves 4.4 kg compared with a steel equivalent. The new Transit’s steel wheels were produced using a spinning production technique that achieves greater strength using less metal. This approach delivers a total saving of 5.5 kg for Transit across five wheels, including the spare.
Ford recently announced that a new all-electric Transit will join the automaker’s line-up of electrified commercial vehicles in 2021.