Comparing Transit Vans: Ford vs. Lightning

Lightning Transit 350HD with bus door
Lightning Electric Transit 350HD Class 3 passenger shuttle with bus door

Ford’s E-Transit is coming. How does it compare?

Ford’s announcement of the battery-electric 2022 E-Transit is great news because it will add momentum to the growth of the commercial EV market, both for fleets and for the EV industry as a whole.

Lightning eMotors also produces battery-electric vans based on the Ford Transit chassis, so does Ford’s announcement mean that Lightning’s product will become obsolete? No, it doesn’t, because the products do not overlap in the marketplace. Ford’s E-Transit is a US Class 2 product, which has a lower gross weight limit than Lightning’s Class 3, which is based on Ford’s T350HD platform. Ford has not stated any intention to produce an electric version of the T350HD. In addition, Ford’s electric E-Transit will be available as a cargo van or in chassis cab and cutaway versions, but not as a passenger vehicle. The Lightning Electric Transit is available now as a passenger van or a cargo van.

Finally, Lightning’s electric Transit 350HD can be customized for many applications, including ambulances, RVs and school buses, all of which require custom access to the vehicle’s electric power system. Wheelchair lifts, custom HVAC implementations, food truck equipment, high-power medical equipment such as X-Ray systems, and other upfits are compatible with Lightning’s electric powertrain technology.

Lightning Transit Cargo Van

Lightning Transit Shuttle

 Ford E-TransitLightning eMotors Transit 350HD
Availability2022 (estimated)Today
US GVWR Class 2Not planned
US GVWR Class 3No stated plan
Cargo van
Passenger vanX
Payload capacity4,290 lbs (cutaway)5,000 lbs
Battery capacity options67 kWh (usable)80 kWh (nameplate) / 73.6 kWh (usable)
120 kWh (nameplate) / 110.4 kWh (usable)
Range126 miles
140 miles
170 miles

Note: Class 2 vehicles do not qualify for VW EMTF or HVIP grant subsidies.