Comparing Transit Vans: Ford vs. Lightning

Ford’s E-Transit: how does it compare?

Ford’s battery-electric 2022 E-Transit adds 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 how do the two offerings compare?

In general, the products do not overlap in the marketplace. Ford’s E-Transit is a US GVWR 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 ZEV3 Transit is available now as a passenger van or a cargo van.

Ford’s E-Transit’s battery capacity is just 67 kWh, whereas Lightning offers up to 120 kWh. Higher capacity equates to longer range and higher payload capability.

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, RV equipment, high-power medical equipment such as X-Ray systems, and other upfits are compatible with Lightning’s electric powertrain technology. Additionally, Lightning’s implementation allows for welding to be performed on the frame and body (by following stated procedures). Ford does not permit welding to be performed on the E-Transit.

Lightning ZEV3 Cargo Van

Lightning ZEV3 passenger van

Ford E-TransitLightning ZEV3 Transit 350HD
Availability2022Available since 2019
US GVWR Class 2Not planned
US GVWR Class 3No stated plan
Max GVWR9,500 lbs10,360 lbs (passenger van)
11,000 lbs (cargo van)
Cargo van
Passenger vanX
Payload capacityup to 3,880 lbsup to 4,138 lbs
Battery capacity options67 kWhup to 120 kWh
Range108 milesup to 200 miles
Bus door configurationX (passenger van)
Rear AC optionX
Connect with HV systemX
Ability to drop battery packs for upfitX
Ability to weld on frame for upfitX
Eligible for HVIP funds$7,500 per vehicle$45,000 per vehicle
Eligible for VW EMTF fundsX