Ford has revealed the first pictures and details of the eagerly anticipated Ford Transit Custom MS-RT van.
MS-RT editions of the mid-size van are something of an icon in the range owing to the motorsport inspired looks of the vehicle.
Designed as a collaboration between Ford and M-Sport, the MS-RT Transit Custom is the most eye-catching van in the line-up, sitting above the Transit Custom Sport. It will be available as both a diesel and electric version.
The fully electric Ford E-Transit Custom MS-RT can lay claim to being the highest powered Ford Transit Custom to-date. It gets a 210kW (282hp) electric motor that powers the rear wheels. It gets selectable drive modes to tone down the power when not needed with a 160kW Normal mode and 100kW when in Eco mode.
The diesel version of the MS-RT Transit Custom gets the standard 2-litre EcoBlue diesel engine. It remains unaltered from the standard van with a 168hp output and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. There’s optional all-wheel drive, or front-wheel drive. A 148hp version will also be available along with a n MS-RT version of the recently revealed Transit Custom PHEV. That model has a 230hp plug-in hybrid powertrain that uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine and a 11.8kWh battery.
Of course, the Transit Custom MS-RT isn’t really about engines and power, it is about appearance. Its exterior styling is all about rally-inspired aggressiveness. It gets an aerodynamic front bumper with integrated spoiler, sports side skirts and a new sports rear quarter. This includes a bumper with integrated diffuser.
Naturally there’s a motorsport-inspired rear spoiler that has been optimised for airflow and plenty of downforce to keep the Transit Custom MS-RT and all your tools firmly stuck to the road. Electric van models will also get an additional LED light strip between the headlights.
Special anthracite 19-inch alloy wheels – which are a 0.5-inches wider than regular Transit Custom Sport wheels – sit beneath wider wheelarches. Each wheel is also more than 1kg lighter and comes with commercial-rated 235/45 R19 Goodyear Eagle Sport tyres.
Despite all the upgrades, it’s still a proper working van and offers the full Ford Transit Custom dimensions of up to 6.8m3 maximum load space. The MS-RT Transit Custom payload is up to 1,124kg.
On the inside it gets sporty new front seats with non-animal Eco-Leather, suede, MS-RT logos and blue stitching. Signature MS-RT colours at launch will including vivid Yellow Green and MS-RT Blue. The van will also come with gloss black mirror caps and door handles as standard as well as MS-RT Blue painted brake callipers.
The Transit Custom MS-RT will be sold through Ford Pro dealers and undergoes final assembly and finishing at a dedicated new facility located on the Ford Dagenham Estate in the UK, right next to the HQ for Ford Pro’s engineering team.
Ford Pro has notched up an impressive eighth successive year as market leader in Europe.
Ford recorded its highest-ever overall market share of 15% beating Renault into second position with a 14.4% market share. Ford also increased its share year-over-year in a total of eleven countries. These included Britain - where the Ford Transit Custom van was also the most popular of all vehicles - Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and Turkey.
“Setting a new record of eight consecutive years of European market leadership demonstrates how much our commercial customers rely on Ford’s vans and pickups to deliver for their business. As we roll out our unique platform of software, charging and services across Europe, we are determined to ensure Ford Pro remains our customers’ trusted partner for productivity,” said Hans Schep, general manager, Ford Pro, Europe.
The growth comes as Ford looks to revitalise its line-up as it prepares for electrification. The large electric Ford E-Transit is now available in all markets after its launch earlier in 2022, while details of the upcoming Ford E-Transit Custom and new Transit Custom PHEV were revealed at the Hannover IAA trade show.
Ford Pro also unveiled its integrated platform of software, charging, servicing and financing, purpose-built to accelerate the productivity and sustainability of businesses of all sizes across Europe.
Rounding off the year, Ford also unveiled the new Ford Ranger and Ford Ranger Raptor pick-up trucks. The pick-up truck platform will also be used by Volkswagen for their re-entry in the pick-up truck market with the new Volkswagen Amarok. Unsurprisingly, the Ford Ranger also marked an eighth successive years as Europe’s most popular pickup truck.
Ford Pro was Europe's commercial vehicle sales leader in 2022, marking an eighth successive year of market leadership for Ford and a new record in the industry.
The Ford Transit Custom was the best-selling one-tonne van in Europe and the best selling vehicle in the UK in 2022.
Ford's market leadership in Britain is currently 57 consecutive years.
The all-electric successor of the Transit Custom van is the E-Transit Custom, which is arriving in late 2023.
Ford Pro's new product launched in spring 2022 was the all-electric E-Transit van, which has led European monthly sales of the two-tonne EV van segment since June last year and attracted over 1,750 UK orders. They also announced a new Ford Ranger pick-up and a successor to the Ford Transit Custom PHEV.
Ford Pro is the name for the commercial vehicle division of Ford and it unveiled its integrated platform of software, charging, servicing, and financing, purpose-built to accelerate the productivity and sustainability of businesses of all sizes across Europe.
Ford gave the first public airing of next year’s Ford E-Transit Custom along with details of the next-generation Transit Custom range which will include PHEV and new EcoBlue diesel vans.
The Ford E-Transit Custom will have a 380km range and support 125 kW fast charging, while the new Custom PHEV uses a similar powertrain to the Kuga PHEV with a 2.5-litre petrol engine combined with a 11.8kWh battery to give 57km of electric-only range.
New Transit Custom diesel engines will range from 108hp to 167hp with a new 8-speed auto gearbox joining the range along with an all-wheel-drive option. All next-generation Transit Custom vans will get the Ford Pro range of software and connected service which include Ford Pro Telematics.
Like its larger sibling, the Ford E-Transit, the Ford E-Transit Custom will be built in Turkey.
Ford also announced plans for its new Ford Pro Upfit Integration System an interface module that establishes a direct connection to the electrical system allowing conversions to be controlled via the 13-inch SYNC 4 touchscreen rather than though bolt-on switchgear. It is hoped that this will speed up the delivery time of conversions as well as improving reliability as converters won’t have to modify the cab area or splice into factory wiring.
Speaking about the new Transit Custom PHEV, Ford Pro CEO, Ted Cannis said: “Not all of Europe was ready with the charging infrastructure or facilities to go completely electric. In Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, there are places where it's not a solution yet because it's just not available.
"If you have dense urban zones, still where you don't have the infrastructure in place, the plug in hybrid allows you to enter the city, like in London, and then you can go out and do a lot of distance. I think getting this bridge to full electrification in the near term, you have to have those decisions that's why to lead the market from end-to-end in Europe we really thought we needed the whole gamut during this period of transition.”
Ford has created its fourth and most powerful SuperVan to date, the Ford Pro Electric SuperVan. The new SuperVan has a staggering 2000hp from four electric motors to give it a 0-62mph time of less than 2 seconds and a top speed of more than 185mph.
It uses parts from the upcoming Ford E-Transit Custom and has been fully connected using the recently launched Ford Pro tool kit. That will allow real-time data from the SuperVan to be uploaded to the Ford Pro cloud and analysed by fleet managers or would-be race directors.
Four electric motors, one in each wheel, are powered by a 50 kWh liquid-cooled battery. It uses a bespoke control system to produce a combined 2000hp.
Read our electric van reviews
The Electric SuperVan also gets a purpose-built, track-ready chassis steel with a steel spaceframe and lightweight composite body panels. Under the skin there is unequal-length double wishbone suspension at each corner with motorsport-grade front and rear subframes, uprights, and brakes.
Unusually for an electric van, it has a two-speed gearbox with a very short first ratio to ensure maximum gearing to get the best possible acceleration.
As it is a connected van, the new SuperVan 4 gets a host of onboard cameras that can be broadcast to its audience, with the driver also able to pull camera feed into the on-board Sync 4 screen which is a carry-over from the new Ford E-Transit and the E-Transit Custom.
Despite its massive aero wing rear diffuser, front splitter and side skirts, not to mention its staggering performance, the Electric SuperVan is still a commercial vehicle and has a loadspace! There's a side door for loading and unloading and Ford is said to be developing a secure electromagnetic release system which can be controlled via the SYNC screen.
The Electric SuperVan’s interior gets a full roll cage as well as FIA approved racing seats. Not going to the racetrack? SuperVan can use the Sync 4 system as a normal sat nav or to find a charger, connect to WiFi and make phone calls. But the touchscreen also lets you control the selectable drive modes. They have been tailored to the Electric SuperVan’s torque maps and regenerative braking to give five very different driving modes.
Road – for rare cases of “normal” driving
Track – for balancing speed and cornering on track with racing slick tyres
Drag – for maximum acceleration on drag strips
Drift – for spectacular drifting, agility demonstrations and snow driving
Rally – for optimum performance on tarmac and gravel rally stages with special tyres
Built by Ford Performance and motorsport experts STARD, the SuperVan’s cutaways and dorsal fin help to push air onto the rear wing. This will generate downforce and keep the Electric SuperVan on the track.
Other electronic features include launch control, a pit-lane speed limiter and three-stage regenerative braking. The braking is similar to the L Mode function on E-Transit van. At low speed, Eco Mode keeps the motors at their optimal efficiency and turns the regenerative braking up to max. It also disengages drive to the rear axle. At the other end of the scale there’s an E-Boost button which gives a temporary power and torque boost.
Perhaps the maddest digital decision is the inclusion of something which Ford are calling a Tyre Cleaning Mode. This they say “can deliver exhilarating driving displays”. That's because it allows you to fully brake one axle while spinning the other. That should mean some impressive burnouts on the front or rear axles. Which of course would only be every used appropriate to help clean and warm the tyres before performance runs…. Yeah right!
Ford’s first SuperVan was revealed in 1971 with a mid-mounted engine from the Le Mans-winning Ford GT40. It was based on the Transit Mk1. SuperVan 2 followed shortly after with a glassfibre version of the Transit Mk2 body. It had a 590 PS Cosworth V8 put under the bonnet. SuperVan returned for a third time as the facelifted Transit Mk3. Power came from a 650 PS Cosworth HB engine shared with Formula 1 cars of the era.
The Electric SuperVan will be making its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The driver will be Romain Dumas, a multiple record holder at Goodwood, Pikes Peak and the Nurburgring.
Also going up the famous hill climb will be the new Ford Ranger Raptor with its V6 petrol engine.
Needless to say, the SuperVan is a one-off and won't be going on sale! But it does demonstrate the capabilites of Ford's electric vans as in between runs, the Ford Electric SuperVan will only need 45 minutes to full recharge using a standard fast charger. Electric motorsport has never looked so good.