Ford has started delivery of its first production electric vehicle, the company confirmed December 7, targeting commercial customers.
The company's first EV is the Ford Transit Connect Electric, a van which is headed to customers in the United States and United Kingdom at first.
The all-electric vehicles will be used in demonstrations projects and production will be scaled up in April next year, before the Ford Focus electric is introduced to the market in late 2011 to compete with vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, which have already launched in the US.
Ford's approach echoes that of Renault, which will offer an electric version of its Kangoo Express minivan as its first EV in the coming months before introducing an electric Fluence sedan next year.
Customers for the new Transit Connect Electric include seven North American firms, including AT&T, New York Power Authority and the Canada Post, and an electric vehicle demonstration program in London.
Fourteen of the vehicles have been provided to residents and businesses of the London borough of Hillingdon, who have been invited to test the vehicles during 2010 and 2011 alongside a charging infrastructure.
It is the latest in a series of vehicles and locations to be introduced under the British government's Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator program, with MINI E vehicles being trialled in Oxford, Smart Fortwo EVs and Toyota plug-in Hybrids being used in London and Peugeot eExpert electric people carriers being used in Glasgow.