2,000-hp Ford Supervan hits Goodwood like an electric earthquake
The UK really loves itself some high-performance Ford Transit vans. Ford's to blame for that, having sent that particular ball rolling over 50 years ago via the first of three generations of race-derived Supervans. The Blue Oval took some time off and let others have a crack at fast and furious camper vans and panel vans (and more camper vans), but now it's back to push the bar to insane heights with a quad-motor electric Supervan so fierce and powerful it'll require world-famous Le Mans winner and electric record-setter Romain Dumas to take it on a leisurely holiday hillclimb.
Following the Ford Transit's 1965 launch, it didn't take all that long for the race-crazed folks at Ford UK to introduce a completely bonkers race-grade version. The original Supervan debuted in 1971 as a hunk of mad science that hid bits and pieces of the GT40 race car, including the mid-mounted 435-hp V8, inside a Mark 1 Transit body. The Mark 2 Transit-based Supervan 2 followed in 1984, and the Mark 3-based Supervan 3 a decade later in 1994, both featuring Transit replica bodies and Cosworth racing engines.
Looking at that schedule, 2004 seemed the obvious year for a Supervan 4, but none was to come. Instead, the Supervan became more of a historic oddity and fond memory ... until today.
Nearly 30 years after the introduction of the Supervan 3, the Ford Pro Electric Supervan makes its debut at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed looking straight out of the future. And it's about as insane as a van body covering over a LeMans-winning GT40 must have been in its day. The belated Supervan 4 carries a 1,973-hp (2,000 metric hp) four-motor all-electric powertrain just inside the bulging arches of an aggressive, ground-skimming custom body loosely based on the all-new E-Transit Custom.
Long story short, that's more than three times the horsepower of any previous Supervan, all stuffed into the midsize E-Transit Custom ... or something kinda like it. Insanity.
The four individual motors are powered by a bespoke liquid-cooled 50-kWh battery pack that takes about 45 minutes to fast-charge. Unsurprisingly, Ford doesn't hazard a guess at range but does highlight a purported sub-2.0-second 0-62 mph (100 km/h) that should utterly obliterate any other claims of "quickest van in the world."
That's not too bad for a van that could also deliver your latest Amazon order ... because Ford maintained a load area behind the driver's seat, somewhere between the roll cage beams. There's even convenient side-door access. Insanity all over again.
Even if you missed the debut of the E-Transit Custom a few weeks back, you probably have a tingling suspicion that the e-Supervan doesn't look all that much like its production stablemate. And that's correct — while Ford Performance and Austrian electrified racing specialist STARD hammered out the engineering and aerodynamics details, the Ford Design team in Cologne, Germany was given free rein to style a truly extreme van out of lightweight composite panels.
The design team clearly answered the "extreme" call. From the low stance, to the compact nose, up the raked windshield and down the gently sloped roof, the Supervan doesn't look like a van at all from many angles. The subtle bulge of the fenders hints at the quad-motor AWD power below, while the many aerodynamic embellishments tie the van to its racing roots. A colorful race-inspired livery completes the package.
"The fourth chapter of the Supervan story is designed to be the fastest, most extreme yet while keeping the Transit DNA," explains Ford of Europe's design director Amko Leenarts. "The proportions are a more dramatic version of what we developed for the E-Transit Custom, and the front light bar creates a futuristic expression, making the Electric Supervan the absolute pinnacle of Transit design language."
To go along with its ultra high-powered electric drive, the new Supervan includes motorsport-derived unequal-length double wishbones at each corner and race-grade subframes, uprights and brakes. A five-mode drive system lets racers choose from track, drag, drift and rally and even includes a road mode for those times when you want to roll a 2,000-hp track van through live traffic.
A separate "tire cleaning" mode brakes the front or rear axle for smoke-firing burnouts that warm up the tires for a high-speed lap. Electronic assistance features include traction control, launch control, a pit-lane speed limiter, and three-stage regenerative braking to help extend battery life.
Ford bills the van as a one-off demonstrator and plans to use it as a functional laboratory for testing out technology and engineering that could find its way into future race and road cars. The integrated connectivity suite sends real-time performance data to trackside engineers for immediate analysis, much the way Ford's commercial vans relay data to remote fleet managers.
Like its predecessor Supervans, the Ford Pro Electric Supervan was designed to raise the profile of a production Transit, in this case the E-Transit Custom. Professional race car driver and current Goodwood record holder Romain Dumas will help that hype by unchaining the full fury of the race van's 1,973 voltage-packed horses at this year's Hillclimb.
Get a first look at what the e-Supervan is all about in the video below.
Source: Ford Europe
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